Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)
Council u-turn over ghost hunt at visitor attractions in Co Antrim
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has withdrawn permission for ghost hunting at two visitor attractions.
The local authority has received requests to search for paranormal activity at Sentry Hill in Carnmoney and Clotworthy House in Antrim.
The request by County Antrim Paranormal Research Association (CAPRA) was approved initially earlier this month by members of the council’s Community Planning Committee.
However, at a full meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council on Monday evening, Macedon Alliance Councillor Billy Webb MBE proposed an amendment that permission is refused.
“I think it is one thing to have a paranormal investigation in a public building but it is quite another thing to have them in buildings that have previously been a private home which is the case with Sentry Hill and Clotworthy.
“There may be relations to those who previously lived there still in our community. I think that should have been considered before granting permission.
“The council has been contacted with similar concerns. I propose an amendment that permission is refused.”
His proposal was seconded by Airport DUP Cllr Matthew Magill.
Previously, Cllr Webb questioned the impact it would have in relation to usage of the buildings if “something is detected”.
Sentry Hill, a Victorian farmhouse, built in 1835, now a council property is associated with the McKinney family which first came from Scotland to Ireland in the 18th century. It was occupied by Andrew McKinney in the 1780s. The property remained in the family until 1996.
Clotworthy House, a council arts centre and former stable block and coach house in Antrim Castle Gardens, was built in 1843 by the tenth Viscount Massereene.
In 2021, a paranormal group was given permission to carry out an investigation at Mossley Mill.
The council granted permission to Ballyclare Paranormal Society to carry out a probe into any paranormal activity at Ballyclare Town Hall in 2017.
In 2011, Mossley Mill attracted the attention of North Belfast Paranormal Research Group which approached Newtownabbey Borough Council for night-time access to the building and grounds.