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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Mid and East Antrim Council offered return of 112-year-old artefact ahead of Coronation

The North Gate in Carrickfergus.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been offered the return of an artefact which will be restored and put on public display ahead of His Majesty’s coronation.

A sandstone block which formed part of the historic North Gate in Carrickfergus will be returned to the town in advance of the coronation of King Charles III on May 6.

The sandstone block had been removed for repair following a road accident in 1979 when a lorry was in collision with the North Street landmark and on completion, it was taken into storage by the Heritage Environment Division, which is now part of Department for Communities.

Last month, the sandstone block was offered to Carrickfergus Museum where it is expected to go on permanent display following a launch as part of celebrations in the town.

Conservation work is required to be carried out at a cost of £6,000.

The sandstone block dates back to the restoration of the town wall gate in 1911 when it was carried out to celebrate the coronation of King George V. It depicts a crest of a castle fronted by water and two birds over two of the towers with the inscription “Carraig-Feargais”.

The North Gate, erected between 1608 and 1620, is the only surviving gate in the town’s 16th century walls.

Commenting at a meeting of Mid and East Antrim’s Borough Growth Committee recently, Carrickfergus Castle Alderman Billy Ashe MBE said:

“I very much welcome the opportunity to bring this back out into the public domain.”

In 2021, sections of carved stonework from Antrim Castle stored by the Department for Communities Heritage Buildings branch were returned to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council from a storage facility in County Down.

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