New Glenshesk website launched to promote area

Later this month a new and groundbreaking website for one of the most picturesque parts of Ireland, Glenshesk in the Glens of Antrim, is being launched.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 8:41 am
A screenshot of Glenshesk Front WebPage
A screenshot of Glenshesk Front WebPage

Glenshesk native, Niall McCaughan, who is behind the website said it will be a first for the Glen.

“The reason behind the website is quite simple; if you “Google” Glenshesk, all you generally get is a line,” Niall explained.

“You might get an explanation about it’s name, but that’s it! I was shocked to find that even on many of the main websites about the Glens of Antrim, information was virtually non-existent, yet in reality, Glenshesk is bursting with history, beautiful locations, characters, and much much more. For example, one of the oldest oak forests in Ireland, Breen Wood, is in the glen, one of the most famous songs in the North, “The Ould Lammas Fair” was written by Glenshesk man John Henry McAuley, that many of the famous farming photographs taken by the famous photographer Robert Welch were in Glenshesk, that the glen is covered in ancient standing stones, ancient graveyards, battle sites, sites of castles, etc...

Duncarbit Standing Stones

“Having an interest in local history, farming in the past, and in photography, the story of Glenshesk I felt had a lot to offer me, personally, and to the wider population. Several years ago I started a dedicated social media site for the Glenshesk covering a mixture of historical photographs, many of which have been unpublished, quirky facts as well as photographs taken today, etc. I was pleasantly surprised by the favourable reaction to the site, not only from glen’s folk, but from many interested parties further afield, locally, nationally and internationally. More recently, I came to realise that in the long-term, it would be better to have a dedicated website which was more accessible for people wanting to know about the glen, covering everything known about the Glen, all on one site.

“I have been photographing and gathering information about Glenshesk’s heritage over 30 years, and particularly over the last few years have been sourcing extra material about the Glen from everywhere I could find it. I probably am a bit of a amateur antiquarian!” he added.

“My interest and love of the glen comes from not only being born and brought up on a hill farm in this beautiful part of Ireland, which has been in our family for many generations, and from my parents love of it, but that I had two uncles who recorded it through photography and Cine film from 1918 and the 1930’s respectively. This unique body of historical material added to my interest in our rural heritage.

“The new website covers ancient and modern history, historical characters, farming of the past and present, how the seasons affect the glen, myths and legends, flora and fauna, religion, schooling, galleries, important web links to other sites, and much much more.

Farming underway in the area

“However, launching the site is the first part of the project; over the next year or so, the site will be expanded further. This will include some of my great uncle’s historic photographs and cine film clips, as well as a body of voice recordings of the oldest person in the glen, my late father Kevin, which I recorded over the last 10 years covering everything from growing flax, stories of the glen, the second world war, etc. Over the next few months I will be adding some of this material, plus additional material sourced. However, I am also encouraging members of the public to contact me if they have any interesting stories or photographs of Glenshesk, so that I can add this to the body of work already gathered. Hopefully this site will encourage others across Northern Ireland to step back and look at their own locality and do the same; if an amateur like me can do it, anyone can!”

The website can be found at www.glenshesk.org . Niall can be contacted at [email protected]

Sheep dipping at Loughan, Glenshesk, 1921. Photo - Fr John McCaughan collection