Monday, September 19, 2011

Newtownards: Tesco, CastleBawn and Walker's Oul Horn

Quite a few folk have contacted me about the song 'The Big Stane' which I posted here last week. Aside from the general story of a shotgun wedding, there are two interesting references in its words:

1) One is 'John Barleycorn', a name often used for whiskey. The story there is that the neck of a whiskey bottle was the perfect size to fit the rubber teat of a baby's bottle, and so empty whiskey bottles were sometimes used as an alternative.

2) The other reference is to 'Walker's Oul Horn' - this was the horn at the former George Walker & Company Linen Mill. The photo below has been taken from Derek Beattie's excellent website about Newtownards. I've added the yellow arrow to point out Newtownards Priory (one of the ruined churches which was restored by Sir Hugh Montgomery in 1606-07, where he lived for a time, and beside which he built an enormous 'bawn' wall). The four white arrows mark the corners of the 'bawn' wall, two of which have circular 'flankers'. Regular readers here will be all too aware of the history of the Priory and the Bawn wall. Click to enlarge:

Today, there is a massive new Tesco superstore being built nearby, said to be the biggest in Northern Ireland, close to the proposed 'CastleBawn' shopping centre. At one stage the Castlebawn property developers said they were going to build a 'Museum of the Wall' to tell the story of the bawn and the history of Newtownards.

Will Tesco, and the developers, acknowledge the history of the site, or will they just suck money out of local people's pockets without putting something back?

> Castlebawn website
> 'Museum of the Wall' plans (scroll to bottom of the page)