Celebrating industrial heritage in Mid and East Antrim

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is gearing up to celebrate the Borough’s fascinating industrial heritage this June.

Postcard View of Whitehead from the 19th century showing some of the features added by Victorian engineer Berkeley Deane Wise

From 4 -10 June 2023, Council will run an engaging series of special heritage and industrial themed events including talks, tours and demonstrations to mark this year’s Mid and East Antrim Industrial Heritage Week.

On Monday 5 June there will be a free talk and tour by Dr Kirstin Lemon and Kieran Parker from the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland at Larne Museum. After a short, illustrated talk from 5.30pm discussing how geological survey maps helped with the development of the industry around Larne - there will be a study trip travelling by mini-bus at 6pm from the Museum.

The study trip will take in Hightown & Moordyke iron mine workings located on the eastern side of Shane’s Hill, where participants will be guided by Geological Survey staff around some of the interesting mine features that are found in the hills around Larne.

Please note, the study trip involves walking on Shane’s Hill over uneven hilly terrain, with a total walk distance of 4KM. Suitable footwear and outdoor clothing will be required for those taking part. Booking for the talk and study trip are separate:  email or call Larne Museum on 028 2826 2443 (Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm).

On Wednesday 7 June, Dr David Hume will be giving a free talk at 7.30pm at Larne Museum examining the history of mining in County Antrim, which had its hey-day in the 19th and early 20th centuries with the extraction of iron ore, bauxite, salt and coal. This talk examines the story of the mines plus their development, growth and decline.

Booking required: or call Larne Museum on 028 2826 2443 (Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm).

Also taking place on Wednesday 7 June from 7.30pm at The Heritage Hub at Carnlough Town Hall, local archaeologist Colin Dunlop will give a free talk on the archaeology of flint tool manufacture in the Glens of Antrim. The evening will also include a knapping demonstration by Paul Moore, from Wild Walk Survival School.

Booking required: email Mary Watson or telephone 07719 357404 (Mon- Sat 10am – 4pm).

Then on Thursday 8 June there will be a walking tour entitled ‘A Wise Development’ incorporating Whitehead Railway Museum. This one-off tour will be hosted by Mark Kennedy, retired Transport Curator from the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, now Curator at Whitehead Railway Museum. He will explore how Victorian Civil Engineer, Berkeley Deane Wise, successfully enhanced and promoted seaside resorts that were located along railway lines owned by the Northern Counties Railway Company.

None more so than at Whitehead which became a popular destination after Wise constructed the promenade, the Blackhead Path and carried out various other improvements to the village and train stations.

The tour will begin at Whitehead Railway Museum at 11am and running until 3.30pm. The tour costs £5 per person, payable on the day, which includes admission to the museum.

Booking required:  or telephone 028 2563 5029 (lines open Mon, Tue, Thurs & Fri 10am – 4pm)

Finally, on Saturday 10 June a free walking tour will take place from 11am to 1pm in Glenarm Village focusing on its industrial heritage. Led by Janice Witherspoon it will leave from Glenarm Visitor Centre at the Marina.

The limestone industry was central to the working life of Glenarm Village from the end of the 17th century. On this walk, participants will find out about its development looking at one of the old quarries, the Old Whiting Mill and the harbour, among other things. They will also see the influence of the Earls of Antrim on improvements to the village and look at the potential for the future.

Please note a couple of stretches of road have steep gradients.  Booking required: Glenarm Visitor Centre email: or telephone 028 2884 1087.