Tag Archives: Antrim

Photographing the Alphabet ~ V

V ~ Viaduct

I have a couple of photos that I may well have shared in the past, but the viaduct the other day was far to close to the busy road I was travelling on. I didn’t want to risk my life or be a hazard to others, in the  heavy traffic so kept on driving.

Viaduct carrying the train line from Belfast to Dublin

Viaduct carrying the train line from Belfast to Dublin

This photo was was taken in May 2010 through the car window as I was stopped in road works traffic. The work was nearing completion on the last stretch of motorway from Belfast to Dublin and cutting out the last of the bottlenecks on the journey.

Another stretch of the same railway line at the end of March 2013

Another stretch of the same railway line at the end of March 2013

Photo taken at the end of March 2013. This time it was mid morning and the traffic was light so I pulled over to the hard shoulder to take this shot. You can just about see Newry through the arches.

Newry is a city in Northern Ireland that straddles the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  It is 34 miles from Belfast and 67 miles from Dublin.

Moving on to Randalstown….

A 19th century viaduct built to extend the railway system in County Antrim.

A 19th century viaduct built to extend the railway system in County Antrim.

This Charles Lanyon designed viaduct was built in 1856 to extend the railway from Randalstown to Cookstown. There are two levels the upper one was the train line and the lower the road from Randalstown to Antrim Town.

Approaching from the Main Street.

Approaching from the Main Street.

In 1830 Randalstown was described as ” chiefly one street extending for half a mile along the road from Toomebridge to Belfast..”

I once heard that the area was also called: a “potwalloping borough”, this meant that anyone who boiled a pot of yarn was entitled to vote…. I think they really earned that voting right!

Disused railway bridge leading to the Viaduct

Disused railway bridge, now a pathway leading to the Viaduct with the entrance to Shane’s Castle on the right.

In the late 1990’s the top of the viaduct and part of the railway track were converted into a walkway and cycle path leading from Station Road to New Street. This development provides views of Randalstown, the River Maine and the adjoining parkland of Shane’s Castle.

Entrance to Shane's Castle, Randalstown

Entrance to Shane’s Castle, Randalstown

The entrance to the Shane’s castle Estate

Looking across the town from the Viaduct pathway

By the end of the 19th century the town depended on an iron works and the Old Bleach Linen Company which was established here in 1864. All that remains now is the chimney of the mill which you can see in the photo above. At its peak in the 1930’s, the Old Bleach company employed over 1000 people. Its doors finally closed in 1980 and demolition began in 1994.

Damask table linen made in Ireland graced tables all over the world in a bygone era of elegance and leisure. I wonder how many of you across the globe have a family heirloom lurking in a drawer?

Little Acorns

- Little Acorns Sculpture ~ Alan Cargo -

– Little Acorns Sculpture ~ Alan Cargo –

Little Acorns ~ Powder Coated Steel and Stainless Steel
Sculptor ~ Alan Cargo

Back in 2011, Antrim Borough Council encouraged local residents to take part in an exciting, new project: A sculpture representing a mighty oak tree, to be erected at the roundabout at Greystone Road, Antrim. I found it during construction, but was unable to discover the back story until now.

Little Acorns ,showing the sections

Little Acorns ,showing the sections

It involved working with artist, Alan Cargo, to create a large metal tree complete with engraved metal leaves. Each leaf was created by an individual member of the community with a design of their choice along the themes of Round Tower, growth, strength, and connections.

Little Acorns, branches and leaves

Little Acorns, branches and leaves

Unfortunately, because of the 7.5m height, and positioning of the completed sculpture on the roundabout, it was not possible to get up close to see the words and imagery on to the 320 stainless steel leaves and acorns.

The project is part of the Positive Spaces programme, helping communities enhance their neighbourhoods with positive and cross-community public art.

Almost a silhouette, to give an idea of the shape.

Almost a silhouette, to give an idea of the shape.

Alan Cargo has for more than a decade successfully completed 25 large scale public art sculptural projects, and taken part in exhibitions both internationally and locally.

He has lived and worked in England, Ireland and Africa both as a teacher and designer / maker of sculpture, and has traveled extensively in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He is currently a lecturer of 3D Design (Sculpture) in Belfast Metropolitan College.

A wide range of materials and engineering techniques are used to realise his work, and he likes to have a hands-on approach to all the manufacturing stages involved in making the work a process. He has this to say about ‘Little Acorns’:

Commissioner, Antrim Borough Council / European Development Fund.
The four parts of this sculpture line up to make a ‘great oak’ tree at one point of the viewers journey round the roundabout creating a sense of visual anticipation, and reflecting the somewhat fractured nature of the surrounding communities. Direct inclusion of peoples words and imagery sand blasted on to the 320 stainless steel leaves and acorns advances the idea that community is strengthened when everyone can speak, words and imagery from workshops with 5 primary schools and 4 community groups are included.

About four years ago, I wrote about a very different tree not far from this one. It was Brian Connolly’s The Healing Tree.

When I discover how to pull over the approx 2,300 posts from my old blog, you will be able to dander through my sculpture series that began with the story of Dickie, Sam & Billy. If you scroll down the comments, you will find a comment from Brian Alabaster, the sculptor of the piece. I have to confess it is still my favourite.