What's On
Places To See
Food & Drink
Sports & Leisure
Public Services

Get Listed


Bonamargy Friary

Bonamargy Friary is situated in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, off the Cushendall Road on the approach to Ballycastle. The name Bonamargy means ‘foot of the Margy River’, the river formed by the joining of the Cary River and Shesk Rivers.

It is a late Franciscan foundation established in 1485 by Rory MacQuillan. It is said that the first battle between the warring MacDonnell and MacQuillan clans was fought on nearby land. At the main entrance to the friary is a small, two storey gatehouse which opens into a store and workroom. Well worn steps lead directly to the dormitory above. Traces of an altar can still be found in the adjoining church, and the locked vaults hold the remains of the celebrated chieftain, Sorley Boy MacDonnell, and several of the earls of Antrim.

Perhaps the Friary’s most famous resident was the 17th century prophet and recluse Julie MacQuillen. Known as ‘The Black Nun’, MacQuillen wished to be buried at the entrance of the chapel so that she might be trodden under the feet of those who entered. A round holed cross marks her grave


Somhairle Buidh Mac Domhnaill (Somhairle - a Gaelicised form of a viking name meaning Summer Wanderer - of the yellow hair, son of Donnell) anglicised Sorley Boy MacDonnell (in Scotland, MacDonald) (c. 1505 - 1590), Scoto-Irish chieftain, was the son of Alexander MacDonnell, lord of Islay and Kintyre (Cantire), and Catherine, daughter of the Lord of Ardnamurchan. He was born at the Castle of Dunanynie near Ballycastle, County Antrim in Ireland. MacDonnell is best known for establishing the MacDonnell clan in Antrim and resisting attempts by Shane O'Neill and the English to expel them back to western Scotland.



The Black Nun: The Story Of Julia McQuillan

The Friary is supposedly haunted by the Ghost of the Black Nun, Julia McQuillan, who lived there alone after the Friary fell out of use in 1641. There is a common story that the Black Nun was murdered on the steps leading to the upper floor of the Friary. Legend has it that she fell on the thirteenth step and that bad luck will befall anyone who walks there.

Many people also believe that the Black Nun is buried at the entrance of the church, under the unusual circular headstone pictured above.






Spoil Yourself
Great Relaxation
Free Standard Listing

Home | Contact | Links | Get Listed | Search

contact us : admin@cushendall.info

Copyright 2006.     
Best Viewed using IE6 or better screen size 1024x768