Coleraine(Cuil Rathain) is situated on the river Bann and one of the largest towns along the Causeway Coastal Route. It has a fascinating and varied history which can trace human settlement back to when man first arrived on these shores. The town is full of delightful period architecture which line pedestrain streets full of shops, restaurants and commerce. The simple and practical layout of the streets owe their charm to the towns foundation as one of two settlements built during the Plantation of Ulster. Coleraine received its Charter in 1613.
It is recorded that a chieftain called Nadslua gave Patricius (St. Patrick) a piece of land here to build a church, the ground was rough and covered with ferns, which is reflected in 'Corner of the Ferns' , one of three translations of the name Coleraine. The other two being 'Ferry Corner' and 'Rath or Fort at the bend'
The present town hall replaced an early bulding constructed in the 1700s, the new building was designed by Thomas Turner and opened in 1859 to form the centrepiece of the Diamond. Surrounded by numerous period buildings, the Diamond is well worth seeing for its architectural value including the modern design of the Northern Bank. The market style space has been in existence since 1610.
In front of the Town Hall stands a memorial to those lost during the two great wars, a bronze figure of a soldier in full battle dress stands resting his hand on the barrel of a rifle while below a beautiful bronze sculpture of the daugher of Erin wearing a long hooded cloak, reaches a wreath upwards towards the soldier. A fabulous piece of sculptural art. On the far side of the hall you'll find another bronze sculpture of Bertie Peacock, a famous local footballer, created by the artist Ross Wilson.
A short walk from the town hall, on the right in the photo above, is St. Patricks Church which was completed in 1885 and design by Thomas Drew, it stands on one of the oldest ecclesiastical sites in Ireland. St Patrick founded one of the first churches here in 456AD, the grandson of the cheiftain who gave him the original piece of land became the first Bishop of Coleraine.
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