Once Upon a Place: Ballyclare

Once Upon a Place: Ballyclare

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Antrim, Ballyclare




Transmission 29/03/1990


25min 13sec







Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

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This programme contains outdated language which some may find offensive.

Once Upon a Place takes a closer look at Ballyclare, the small town in County Antrim which sits on the Six Mile Water (river).

Beginning with historic black and white footage of the old May Fair, the programme features interviews with locals who recall the fairs of the past. Joe Cullen, who this year has brought a carousel to the fair, describes how the profession runs in the family. We are then introduced to Harry McKeen, an ice-cream maker and distributer at the fair, who has been coming to it since 1930.

Residents of Ballyclare discuss the agricultural and livestock aspects of the fair, and how it is still a place to bring horses to sell. Wilson Knipe speaks about the boost in international visitors that occurred after 1947, as many French and Belgian people came to purchase farm horses after World War 2. Local historian, Jack McKinney traces the origins of the May fair to the beginning of the 18th Century, though speculates it may have begun before this.

Following this, the viewer is taken on a tour of former linen mills, with the town's industrial past the focus. 

Also featured in the programme: Meg Adams, Dr. Bert Millar, Enrie Scott, Sidney Cameron, George Wilson, Sam Graham, Alderman James Smyth, Enie Ballantine, Alfred Montgomery, Jenny McClean, Robert Grange, Tom Peoples, Fred Dibnah, Jimmy Beggs, Hamiliton McConnell, Jim Blair and Madame Lee. 


Legendary steeplejack Fred Dibnah demolishes an old chimney.


A UTV Production.  

Producer: Janthia Duncan

Camera: David Scott

Sound: Jim McGirr and Rai Woods

Editor: Jim McGurk

Executive Producer: Andrew Crockart

Production Assistants: Maureen Dickson and Felicity Pierce

Graphic Design: Brian Owens and Philip Owens

Stills Photographer: Alan Mackey

On-line Editor: Phillip White

Post Production Sound: Colin Somerville

Acknowledgements to Ballyclare and District Historical Society, Ballyclare May Fair Committee, Kirkpatricks Linron (Ballyclare) Ltd., McClelland and Sons Ltd, National Library of Ireland, North Eastern Education and Library Board, Public Record Office, Belfast. Ulster Engineering Ltd. Ulster Folk and Transport Museum , Ulster Museum, Windmill Lane Picture.

Jack McKinney, H.R. Allen, Billy Blaney, Tommy McBurney, Kay McMurty



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