Wednesday, 16 April 2014


Ballysillan is an area of Belfast with an interesting history and I have started this blog to record some of that history.  That is why I have called it The Ballysillan Story.

274 Ballysillan Road
I grew up at 274 Ballysillan Road, just two doors up from my constituency office, and I can remember the area as it was in the 1950s and thereafter. 

There was still the little cottage on the Oldpark Road at Cliftondene and the thatched cottages in Sunningdale Park.  They were a reminder that at the start of the 20th century this was still a predominantly rural area.

Carr's Glen was one of our playgrounds and a place for family walks.  At that time there were still plenty of traces of the old mills and the industrial history of Carr's Glen.

There were also long walks up round the Horseshoe Bend and then on up the Hightown Road and the hills.  Those hills were another natural playground and we collected frog spawn in the disused quarries.

Each summer we built our bonfire on the ground beside St Bride's church hall, where the rectory now stands, and we built it without pallets and tyres.
Prior to that, back in the 1940s, my mother had a butcher's shop at the bottom of the Ligoniel Road, so the family connection with the area goes back quite a few years.

My wife's father's family came from the Shankill but her grandfather owned one of the little whitewashed cottages above Ligoniel.
However I want to take the story back to much earlier times and over the coming months I intend to trace the history of the Ballysillan area, especially from the 17th century onwards.


  1. I look forward to the entire article - I have many happy memories of living 1 year in Silverstream Parade during '66-'67 when we moved from the country. I was 9 and my father was a bus driver but during our time there the UTA went on strike for a prolonged time eventually leaving us no option but to move back to Magherafelt. I remember walking up as far as Horseshoe Bend, on other occasions down into Ardoyne through Carrs Glen and round in a circle to get home again. I went to Carrs Glen school and had awful lady P6 teacher (at least from a 9/10 year old prespective). I am sure some great memories will be revived through your project Nelson

  2. and I so remember Pop's newsagent