Looking back at Gilford’s heritage

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Gilford Community Forum officially launches its 16-page ‘Gilford Heritage Trail’ booklet in Gilford British Legion on Thursday at 8pm.

A number of local speakers will be participating, with light refreshments served. All are welcome to come along to learn more about the fascinating and intricate history of this small town.

Penned by local historian, Beryl Higgins, the booklet offers readers a succinct history of the area from its early origins in the 1600s, to the huge growth in the town from the mid-18th century with the development of the linen industry and more recently the significant role Gilford played during the Second World War.

It also has a few surprising facts even long time locals may not have been aware of!

For example, did you know that in 1772 the original Gilford Castle, owned by Sir Richard Johnston, was attacked by a band of insurgents who styled themselves ‘Hearts of Oak’?

During the battle the Rev Samuel Morell, a Presbyterian minister, who had joined the defence, was killed.

Were you also aware that during the First World War both Dunbarton House and Bannvale House were transformed into branches of the Ulster Volunteer Force hospital in Belfast?

Dunbarton House was utilised as a 30-bed convalescent home for officers whilst Bannvale House provided nursing care for overseas sick and wounded soldiers.

The illustrated booklet includes a handy map for those interested in taking an historical stroll around the town.

The evening promises once again to provide an ideal opportunity for friends, old and new, to get together over a cup of tea and reminisce about times gone by.

Copies of ‘Gilford Heritage Trail’ will be available to pick up at the event, and following the launch, can be obtained in Gilford Community Centre, Banbridge Tourist Information Centre and other local venues.

The Heritage Trail booklet was funded by the Department of Social Development ‘Areas at Risk’ programme, and supported by Banbridge District Council.