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History of The Sixmile Water

Antrim Castle

Antrim Castle was burnt down during a Grand Ball on the 28th October 1922. The Castle was built between 1610 and 1666 and the tower that remains was built in 1887. During the fire a servant was rescued, but later died from her burns. It is said that her ghost has been seen, walking around the Castle Gardens. Locals call her 'The White Lady'

Image by Marko Tjemmes www.castles.nl

History of the Area

People have lived in this part of the Six Mile Valley in County Antrim for five thousand years. Invaders included Vikings and Normans. At the same time as the Pilgrim Fathers landed in America it was finally settled by Scots planters. Jonathan Swift preached here and it was from here the families of Mark Twain, Sam Houston and General Alexander Macomb left for America.
The earliest evidence of people in this area is a horde of flint arrow heads found when houses were being built north of the river in November 1968. There are 39 flints - some perfectly finished and others are blank indicating an 'industry' and trading near the river crossing over four thousand years ago.

When the Normans built the castle at Carrickfergus they placed a line of outposts along the river which was then called the "Ollar "- River of the Rushes. In time the soldiers making the journey from Carrickfergus to Antrim reached the river at this spot when they had travelled six miles so began to call the Ollar the Six Mile Water. One of these mottes is close by the river in the War Memorial Park in Ballyclare. There are two on opposite sides of the river at Doagh and one at Antrim. The village grew after the Plantation of Ulster and was granted permission by George 11 in 1756 to hold two fairs each year making it an important market centre.

The May Fair remains and has become part of a week of festivities. The people of Ballyclare and the surrounding villages played a part in the Rising of 1798 and fought in the Battle of Antrim. Others including the families of Mark Twain and Sam Houston sailed to America to seek their fortunes. At the beginning of the Twentieth Century Ballyclare was a growing industrial town with an Urban Council and became the largest paper producer in Ireland. It had a narrow gauge rail link to Larne and a broad gauge connection to Belfast. In 1973 with the surrounding villages Ballyclare became part of the of a larger district which in 1977 was created the Borough of Newtownabbey.

Fishing in Co. Antrim

The game fishing season is from 1st March to 31st October with the best fishing from April. A choice of rivers include The Maine, The Crumlin, The Kells, The Braid, & my personal favourite The Sixmilewater, all hold excellent stocks of wild brown trout.
Salmon and Dollaghan (The famous Lough Neagh migratory trout) enter rivers from July providing excellent sport until the end of the season. There are also many coastal streams with salmon and sea trout runs.

Copyright www.sixmilewater.co.uk Photographs by David Telford & Marko Tjemmes- Website designed by Elaine Munn CONTACT
Last updated 07/02/18 - SEUPB funding administered on its behalf of DCAL.