Discover the fascinating history on your doorstep with a guided tour of Gracehill
Gracehill, just over two miles from Ballymena town centre, is a small village steeped in history dating back to the 18th century, with a fascinating story to tell, and over the next weeks, Saturday Settlement Tours are set to take people, from near and far, on an adventure of discovery.
Gracehill, an award-winning Georgian village, founded by the Moravian Church in 1759, was Northern Ireland's first Conservation Area and uniquely, is the only complete Moravian settlement in Ireland.
Gracehill Old School dates from 1765.
In the 18th century, the village was highly structured and the layout of the buildings and the unique Georgian style of architecture remain very much the same.
The Moravian values called for a community-based way of life. There was a village doctor, access to education and many houses had fresh running water.
The Moravian Church remains central to the village with its burial ground known as God’s Acre, bisected by a path into two plots. Men were buried to the left and women to the right of this central path. All the headstones were of the same shape and design as the Moravians believed that everyone is equal in death – and were laid almost flat on the ground.
Other Moravian congregations in exist Northern Ireland, however, Gracehill is unique because it is the only complete Moravian settlement in Ireland.
Gracehill is on the UK tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage status along with sister settlements in Germany and the US. This is part of a Transboundary Serial nomination and if successful the village will join with Christiansfeld Moravian settlement in Denmark which was enscribed in 2016.
Starting on Saturday (6 August), Sally Ann Johnston, a team member of Gracehill Trust, a charitable trust set up in 2002, will lead tours of the village. These will continue every Saturday in August and September (apart from 10 September). No booking necessary - meeting at the Old School each Saturday at 2.30pm.
Tours include a short DVD presentation in the Old School room, a guided walk around the square and a visit to the church to find out more of the fascinating history of the settlement.
Best to come prepared for any weather and although the walk is not long, that part of the tour is outside!
Tours are £4 per person and last for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.
For any further information Thank lease contact Sally Ann Johnston: