‘Historical significance’ is forgotten

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Portrush Heritage Group say that they recognise some positive elements with the masterplan for Lansdowne, but they say that they have concerns that the historical significance of the area has not been recognised.

In a letter, the group pointed out: “The Masterplan Report does not address the need to connect the former Lifeboat Station and Port-an-dhu Harbour into a single unit for restoration and development.

“One is reliant upon the other for a practical solution to their future usage.

“It is imporlant that the former Lifeboat Station retains a close and direct link to its former use, recognising and remembering the brave men of Portrush who sailed from it in all weathers to go to the aid of others at sea.

“It is essential that this close family link with old Portrush families is not lost given the braveryand, in some cases, ultimate sacrifice of these men.

“Port-an-Dhu Harbour has always been an important and much used harbour from long before the construction of the existing pier and slipway.”

The letter goes on: “The masterplan does not address the enormous historical significance of the Antrim Gardens area.

“It has now been clearly demonstrated that Antrim Gardens, and probably much of the surrounding area, is the site of a large Mediaeval Settlement. “This Settlement would have supported and provided for the Mediaeval Abbey which was situated on the site of the present Ramada Hotel.

“The plinths of many large ovens have been discovered, together with other structures which could not be clearly identified, given the limited excavation permitted at the time.

“Pottery shards from across Europe were found on the site including some of Roman origin. Some of the pottery shards unearthed could not be matched to any previously known types and it is highly likely that these were produced locally in Portrush to a high quality.

“The Masterplan Report makes no mention of the Mediaeval Well situated in Antrim Gardens nor of the tree nearby which is the subject of a Tree Preservation Order.” The group will be addressing Council soon.