...then this could be the house for you. Ballyvester House outside Donaghadee is said to have been first established by a William Catherwood, one of Sir Hugh Montgomery's close associates, who was born in Lanark, Scotland around 1570 and settled at Ballyvester in 1606. Catherwood was also granted the nearby townland of Ballyfrenis by Montgomery that same year; in the later 1600s the Catherwoods styled themselves as “Lairds of Ballyvester”.
A more recent cultural connection for Ballyvester House is that this is where the family of Sir James Craig, the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, lived for many generations. Craig's father was born here before relocating to Belfast where he became a whiskey millionaire.
The Ordnance Survey Memoirs of 1837 for Donaghadee parish said that “the dialect of the people is almost completely Scotch and they have altogether a great resemblance to their Scotch neighbours”. James Craig's grandfather (who died in 1868 and whose gravestone is in Donaghadee Parish Churchyard) would have been around at the time the Memoir was recorded.
So with family connections here it is no surprise that Sir James Craig is said to have overseen the famous gunning events at Donaghadee of 24/25 April 1914.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Posted by Mark Thompson at Tuesday, June 26, 2012