The County Antrim War Memorial is situated on the top of Knockagh Hill, at the southern end of Monument Road, above the town of Greenisland in the south of County Antrim.
The site is 935 feet (300m) above sea level on the northern side of Belfast Lough and offers a panoramic view of Belfast and the North Down Coast. It is the largest war memorial in Ulster and takes the form of a suitably proportioned obelisk, a replica of the Wellington Monument in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, except that it is exactly half the height at 110 feet (33.5m) high and the base is 25 feet (8m) square. The foundation stone of the Memorial on was laid by the Countess of Antrim in 1922.
It was initially proposed to record in letters of bronze the names of every one of the fallen from County Antrim, the names were to be arranged alphabetically, irrespective of rank, the only exception being that the services would be kept separate and recorded in the order of seniority on the monument.
By mid 1922 about 2000 names had been collected. When the monument was eventually completed no tablets were fitted to it. To give an impression of the memorial’s huge size look at the car at the bottom right of the image
Its construction appears to have been beset with financial problems. Although the foundation stone had been laid in 1922, in September 1924 it was reported that ‘work had been resumed.’ A report in September 1926 stated that ‘workmen are presently engaged on the base.’
On his death in 1935 Mr. Barton, the honorary secretary of Knockagh War Memorial Committee, in his will he bequeathed £1,250 towards the cost of its completion. Following a review of the costs that would be involved, Antrim Rural District Council were asked to adopt the monument and pay the additional cost to have it completed, estimated to be £122.
The initial suggestion for the inscription was;-
“TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN PROUD AND AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE OF THE MEN OF COUNTY ANTRIM WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR.
THIS MEMORIAL IS ERECTED BY THEIR GRATEFUL COUNTY.”
“NOBLY YOU FOUGHT, YOUR KNIGHTLY VIRTUE PROVED
YOUR MEMORY HALLOWED IN THE LAND YOU LOVED.”
In April 1937 thirty eight letters in the inscription were found to have been removed and another two letters damaged. To date it has been impossible to obtain information on a dedication or unveiling date (if any). It was eventually completed in late 1936 or early 1937.
Following the Second World War the memorial was dedicate to the fallen of both wars. In 1985 all the Local Councils in County Antrim contributed towards the cost of carrying out refurbishment work on it. Just 21 years later another refurbishment program was undertaken costing £50,000, each Local Council contributing £1,500 to the total cost of £50,000.
On Sunday 5th November 2006, the refurbished memorial was unveiled by the Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, Lord O’Neill and rededicated by Rev. Canon E. J. Moore, T.D., M.A
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