Lisburn gets ready to celebrate its 400th
Market Square where Sir Fulke Conway
encouraged settlers to erect homes in
the early 17th century.
PLANS are to be drawn up to celebrate what
will literally be the party of a lifetime - Lisburn's 400th
Councillors are to consider how the city
should celebrate the 400th anniversary of its foundation on June
30 next year.
The Council's Assistant Director of Leisure
Services Mr. Brian Mackey reminded the Leisure Services
committee last week it was on June 30. 1609 King James 1 granted
the Manor of Killultagh to Sir Fulke Conway.
He said this marked the start of urban
settlement at Lisnagarvey, which was renamed Lisburn in the
Mr. Mackey said Sir Fulke 'acted quickly to
establish his authority in South Antrim' during the period known
as the 'plantation of Ulster' by building a manor house on what
is now the Castle Gardens site.
This, he added, was reported to have been
almost completed by 1611 and before his death in 1624 he had
built a bridge over the River Lagan as well as a church where
Lisburn Cathedral now stands.
Mr. Mackey said settlers had been instructed
to erect houses in 'the Market Place' - now Market Square - and
the streets leading from it - Bridge Street and Castle Street.
He explained the street layout of early
Lisnagarvey� which basically occupied today's
'Historic Quarter', remains unchanged as was evident from the
earliest map - 'the Ground Plotte of Lisnagarvey c1620s'.
In his report to the Committee's April
meeting Mr. Mackey said the old Irish place name Lisnagarvey
(Lois na gCearbhach) meaning 'fort of the gamesters' predated
1609. This, he said, was also the case with Kilrush Graveyard,
but he stressed there was no documentary or archaeological
evidence of any urban settlement at Lisburn prior to 1609.
Mr. Mackey, who felt 2009 was a 'particularly
important year to celebrate the foundation of Lisburn, pointed
out the restoration of Castle Gardens made the anniversary
He explained much of the information he had
given to the Committee had been obtained during research for an
exhibition on 17th century Lisburn which it was hoped could be
arranged to coincide with the official opening of the Gardens.
Councillors agreed the matter should be
passed to their Strategic Policy Committee colleagues to allow
the preparation of a report on how best to mark the anniversary.
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