Q. What does a photographer do on his day off?
With no studio appointments on a Friday, and lured by the prospect of a decent spring day, and with another matter to be attended to in the area, I travelled to Ballinderry. It’s a rural area in Co Antrim, between Moira and Crumlin.
To be more precise, my real destination was Upper Ballinderry –
(There was a yarn – about a Ballinderry man who wanted to travel home from Japan, and who went to a travel agent in a small remote Japanese town, and asked for travel to Ballinderry. With oriental inscrutability and precision the clerk replied, Yes sir. Upper or Lower Ballinderry?)
He’d find it hard to travel to Ballinderry by train now as my first stop in the village proved. NIR has mothballed the line between Lisburn and Antrim and Ballinderry Station is now a shadow of its former self. The Antrim bound platform has been dismantled and the station building allowed to decay. The entrance to the station is now blocked. The track is still in place, – it was always a single track line, – but the passing loop has gone and the line seems to be used now as a siding. Today it had goods wagons sitting on the track.
A sad indictment on our government – this line had a station at Aldergrove and it wouldn’t have taken a great deal of imagination to run a spur to the international airport to provide a much needed rail link to Belfast.
There’s a few other distinctive sights around the area too, like the Orange Hall, with its unique ‘wings’ and Ballinderry Antiques, right on the corner, and oppisted to it an actual BT phone box, with a real, working phone, and the obligatory Gospel Tract!
I was fascinated by the texture on one of the doors into the old building used by the Antique store.
But my real destination was the historic Ballinderry Middle Church. An Anglican Church, built in 1686, with a distinctive gate, and bell tower.
Unfortuantely I was unable to gain access to the church interior. That was disappointing, for the church was built at a time when Scottish Presbyterian influences on the Irish Church were very pronounced, and the interior is set out in a ‘barn’ pattern, with the pulpit on one of the long walls, and the wooden box pews around it on three sides. The austerity of the building demonstrates its Presbyterian influences. There’s still no electricity in the building, so when it is used for services, the light sources are the windows and candles, clearly seen through the windows, as below.