From before the Pyramids there was a presence in the townland of Ballintaggart and, with a £50k investment from the National Lottery, the heritage from then til now is to be documented.
This massive project, spearheaded by Richmount Rural Community Association, aims to take the town land from the cradle of civilisation to the present day.
Ballintaggart, a townland between Portadown and Armagh, has the Giants’ Graves (Court Tombs dating back to Neolithic times) to a wonderful Plantation House later rebuilt in the style of a French Château.
Association chairman Joe Garvey said this major heritage project aims to uncover the wealth of history, with the help of local schools and the local community.
He revealed: “Sir Robert Hart, the Inspector-General of China’s Custom Service, courted one of the residents of Ballintaggart for all of 24 hours before proposing marriage.
“We have Cinnamon’s Lane (now Drumnasoo Road) with labourers’ cottages which served the local watermill. We have the Georgian Hannavale House and its sister house on the Armagh Road. We have tales of strange phenomena and the “mountain dew” being brewed long before the cider of today. There is also evidence of battles and highway men.
“This community heritage project will gather local information and look at the life and culture of former residents and piece together the Ballintaggart story for both a local and wider audience and place it firmly on the Heritage Trail. There will be training, research, video making, storytelling, writing, informational trips and it will be fun.
“We will also be involving local schools in the project with Hart Memorial, Portadown, Richmount Primary School and St John’s Eglish, Annaghmore agreeing to take part in the project. It is vital that our heritage is preserved and we hope to foster the desire to be mindful of our heritage with the younger generation. We wish to have this important area of heritage placed firmly on the heritage trail.”
Mr Garvey said they were delighted with the lottery award.
Lord Mayor of ABC Council Julie Flaherty commended Richmount Rural Community Association for taking on ‘this most interesting and challenging project’.
She asked: “Is this project the catalyst to investigate if the Giants Graves could be returned to their native setting in Ballintaggart? If they could be returned it would really put Ballintaggart on the Heritage trail.”
Jim McGreevy, Member of NI Committee of Heritage Lottery Fund said it should result in a compelling and fascinating addition to NI’s heritage.
“We wish the team every success as they embark on their project.”