William III, statholder of Holland, landed at Torbay, England, in November, 1688 with 250+ ships and 30,000 men in order to overthrow the Catholic convert James II who had become king in 1685. As he came ashore he proclaimed “the liberties of England and the Protestant religion I will maintain.” As king of England, William was automatically made king of Ireland, but he and his forces had to go to Ireland to win the island from James and the forces loyal to him. Schomberg had already successfully besieged Carrickfergus in 1689 when William landed in June 1690 and moved south to join Schomberg at Dundalk.
Carrickfergus castle was founded by the Anglo-Norman knight John de Courcy in 1177 and it became the stronghold of power in the north of Ireland, leading to its besiegement over time by a litany of Scots, Irish, English – including under Schomberg in 1689 – and French forces (WP). In the present day, the flag of a Kingdom uniting England, Scotland, and (Northern) Ireland currently flies on Marine Highway next to the sculpture showing three Anglo-Norman knights defending the castle (unsuccessfully) against the forces of Edward Bruce of Scotland in 1315 (info plaque). The sculptor is unknown.
Carrickfergus castle was built in 1177 and has seen multiple battles in the intervening years, including the Battle Of Carrickfergus in 1597 in which the MacDonnells and O’Neills defeated the forces of Elizabeth I (WP). Its military history makes it a fitting spot for a remembrance of the dead of WWI from the 36th Division.
“To commemorate the establishment of Presbyterianism in Ireland through the formation of the first presbytery which met in Carrickfergus on 10th June 1642.” Presbyterianism began in Scotland circa 1560 under John Knox and spread to Ireland with the colonising settlers of the 1600s. (For more on the first presbytery, see Ancestry Ireland.) Although Presbyterians supported the Williamite campaign they were subsequently discriminated against as “dissenters” from Anglicanism.
The sculpture is at Joymount Presbyterian in Carrickfergus
This is the second half of the Carrickfergus Timeline in Market Place, covering the history of the town from arrival of King William and General Schomberg to the modern day, including the last witch trial in Ireland and the construction of a railway allowing tourists sailing into Larne to reach the town easily: “Don’t let anything stop you from coming to Carrickfergus – if you cannot get on a train, hire a donkey cart”. The panels were written by Seth Linder.
St Nicholas’s (Anglican) church in Carrickfergus dates back to the 1100s, prior to the castle. The low window shown above is known as the “leper window”. Patients from the leper hospital near the (northern) Spittal Gate to the city would come and listen in (Library Ireland). During the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, services are not even being held.
Care homes accounted for about 50% of the early coronavirus deaths in both Northern Ireland (WP) and the Republic (Irish Times). This Carrickfergus facility is named “Tamlaght” which comes from the Irish támh = plague and leacht = grave. Ireland suffered various plagues throughout history, including the Yellow Plague Of 644 and the Black Death in 1348 with “unheard of mortality” from recurring waves lasting until 1370. PlaceNamesNI states there 25 townlands bearing the name (and many other places too).
“This plaque is dedicated to those men and women of the Orange Institution who volunteered to fight in the Great War for king and empire and who made the ultimate sacrifice on foreign fields.” A WWI commemorative plaque has been added to the Orange hall in Carrickfergus (seen previously in M05249).