From Slaves To Saints In Edenderry
edited: Tuesday, February 12, 2008
By Paul Francis Mc Cann
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Sunday, December 01, 2002
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A brief history of how a modern village called Ardoyne in North Belfast built herself a home .
As far back as the in the days when St Patrick was first brought to Ireland
The slave trade was big business in County Antrim and Down .
Boatmen often came into the Lough which is today called Belfast Lough .
Boats with their cargos of lost souls , and even nobility were brought in chains and the boats then would have come to the sands and deep into the Lough for safety .The prisoners would have landed at the white ford , the junction of the river Lagan , the lough and the River Farset .
It is a reasonable assumption that when Patrick was brought over to Ireland from Wales his journey was pointed directly into the direction of Belfast Lough
Belfast Lough would have been the first view of Ireland for St Patrick himself and it is reasonable to conclude that the first time St Patrick put his foot on Irish soil , it would have been right there at the mouth of the river Lagan
In what is today called Belfast .
Patrick would have escaped slavery across the River Lagan at low tide and then on to the south where he sailed to freedom .
Taxation records of Pope Nicholas from 1291 describe the white church of St Patricks there in Belfast as “Ecclesia Alba cum capella de vade”
Another record a little later on from Pope Terrier also mentions the White Church in Belfast . Faith spread like a fire through Belfast and then into every corner of Ireland .
With St Patricks flame buring in their heart many people like St Brendan saw beyond their beloved Irish Shore . With a great rise in monastic work and in the missionary work Ireland won for herself the title Isle Of Saints and Scholars .
Early on the hills above Belfast were known as The Hill Of Wolves, which then became Wolf Hill .
After Chichester burnt and destroyed all the homes and their lands in the seventeenth century a place bare and unpopulated saw a small town grow .
The small streams around Edenderry attracted many industrialists .
Edenderry in the early 1800’s sprang up when linen was needed and as the
Demand for linen grew bleaching machinery was introduced .
Linen Mills followed .
History tells us that Michael Andrews from County Down opened a business in Belfast and had secured a number of acres in the townland of Edenderry .
It was here in Edenderry where Michael Andrews established a hand-loom factory and refurbished what few old homes were there and his business grew .He gradually added more workers homes until the attractive little village with its bell tower and clock , its pebbled square and its bell-man calling out the hours at night , its snow white homes, its school, its quoit pitch, and its little factory became one of the leading attractions for the people of Belfast City .
All these were there and flourishing in the mid 1800’s .
The townland of Edenderry although immortalised with the todays small business people like The Edenderry Post Office ,and Edenderry National School , the name passed from the lips of the people and Ardoyne took its place .
Up the road from Edenderry was Ligoniel and Hill of the white lime quarries .
In those far off days of the 1850’s limestone from the White mountain was used for surfacing the Crumlin , Ligoniel , and Shankill roads .
On these snowy white roads in the summer time the glare was blinding .
The whiteness increased day by day by tons of white powder that poured through the white joints of the big bright red carts that were full of limestone coming down from the white mountain .
My village in Belfast is called Ardoyne . Ardoyne is a busy district in Belfast .
Situated in North Belfast Ardoyne has seen many changes over the centuries.
The name Ardoyne means John’s Hill .
To this area Michael Andrews brought people work and homes and a well loved never to be forgotten name and one known all over the world ..
Ardoyne has just been through hell for the past thirty years and more .
With one terrible tragedy after another the people of Ardoyne have embraced the recent good Friday agreement .
From the streets of Ardoyne to London , Sydney and Toronto , in fact all around the globe ex-Ardoyne people have moved .
Irish President Mary McAleese herself came from Ardoyne . As a small boy I delivered milk to her Mothers door . I lived in the same street as her Duneden Park . Ardoyne has always had large catholic families .
The village of Ardoyne has a great strength of character and that is the reason it has survived the troubles of the past thirty years .
Today there are housing associations , business centres , Community Organizations , social clubs , Shops, Co-Ops , schools , churches ,Sporting Clubs and most of all Ardoyne has grown a very big heart .
From Slaves to Saints in Edenderry , Ardoyne has made herself a home .