This is here because of one Henry Barton, the local High Sheriff after the end of World War I. He dreamed of a basalt obelisk with bronze panels listing those lost in the Great War from County Antrim. Slemish and the Giant’s Causeway were considered as sites for the work, but the 270 meter high Knockagh Hill was chosen. I’m glad – those other places might have been spoiled by it, the Knockagh carries it like a glorious finger pointing to heaven.
Henry Barton was a tireless worker, but he died before his dream was realized. So many were lost from the county that gigantic panels would be needed for all their names, so none are listed at all. The piece was ultimately built from concrete blocks – not so good. Even his suggested wording on it was disregarded.
Still, it stands, and from any distance it is hugely impressive. It looks down over Carrick Castle and Belfast Lough, and back across the County inland. On the train from Belfast it crowns the cliffs as a handsome focal point. Seasonally you see it surrounded by snow, or wreathed in morning fog, or silhouetted against a blazing sunset.
Do go up the windy road to pay it a visit. At the end is a car park. The monument itself is not handsome close-up, but … I’m a War dead researcher. I know about some of the men it stands for. Heck of a thing.
A parasailer was flying about one time I was there. I got my first-ever sighting of orange-tip butterflies on the approach road. We met a cart pulled by two giant horses driving back done another time. The views from the site are amazing. If all those lost soldiers are looking down on us, this could be close to the view they’d get.
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