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Clachan hidden behind modern day dwelling

was thought to have been the earliest on the island. Tere are also large stones set out in circles thought to be the foundations of a monastery in the same vicinity. On looking back the three damaged wind turbines on Kilpatrick should be in view as you progress to Ballygill South. It was here in 2004 that I encountered Blackie, the only horse on the island. A year later I was greeted with the sad news that Blackie had died the previous winter. Once upon a time, before the days of tractors, there were over eighty horses on the island. Horses also play a big part in island folklore and the

presence of a black horse here at Ballygill brings to mind the spectre of the beast that once terrorised locals in these


parts. Tere are different accounts but the one I like refers to the Black Horse, or Cannondubh as it was known, that was said to be ridden by a man with a spear. Some say the spear grew out of the horse’s chest. Cannondubh came a cropper one day when chasing a young girl out collecting dry dung for fuel. Having spotted the horse she hid behind a wall. On hurdling the wall the animal tripped and speared itself as it fell. It died instantly and was

buried at Kilpatrick. Te horse is sometimes seen gallop- ing across the fields in this area, so they say. Another piece of island folklore warns that if a

McCurdy, a common name on the island, married a McCurdy and they had a girl, she had better not walk over the spot where the Black Horse was buried. If she did it, would rise from the ground and terrorise the island once again. Now, there are two unrelated McCurdy clans on the island and would you believe it one married into the other. Tankfully, if you believe in such tales, they had five boys. Ballygill is roughly half way. Tis area is rich in Rathlin’s hidden heritage with an axe factory and a clachan at

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