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16 October 2014
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Larne - Drumalis House

The first written record of the name Drumalis comes from a sixteenth century calendar that lists lands adjoining and belonging to the church of the friars called Clondumalis.

Drumalis House

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Larne - Drumalis - Page 3

Drumalis - a short history of a magnificent house

Sir Hugh Smiley died at Drumalis House on 1st March 1909 but his wife Elizabeth continued to live there.

It is soon after Sir Hugh's death that the house takes its place in Irish history because the famous 1914 U.V.F. "gun-running" operation that took place in Northern Ireland was actually plotted and expedited around the table in the dining room of Drumalis House. Sir Edward Carson, a Dublin born solicitor, was a longstanding friend and a frequent visitor to the Smileys and it is commonly believed that the gun running operation took place with the permission of the now widowed Lady Smiley .

Artist's sketch showing the procession of motor cars along the avenues of Drumalis.
Sketch showing the procession of motor cars along the avenues of Drumalis.
Some 600 motors are reported to have passed through the estate.

(The U.V.F. was formed in 1913 to resist home rule in Ireland. On the evening of Friday 24th April 1914 about 20,000 rifles and two million rounds of ammunition bound for Ulster Volunteer Force were landed at Larne to boost the campaign headed by Edward Carson to keep Ulster free of Irish home rule. The U.V.F. took over the town for the night, severing communications and distributing the arms in 500 lorries and cars whilst the authorities looked on helplessly. The SS Clyde Valley, a collier, landed the guns and ammunition and it is reported that she also landed weapons at Bangor and a few other Ulster ports. The gun running coup was organized by former British Army officer and Boer war veteran Frederick Hugh Crawford. The weapons, which were bought in Hamburg, were first loaded on the 480 ton "SS Fanny" under the cargo description of 'zinc plate' before being tranferred to the SS Clyde Valley out at sea.)

There have been various rumours of tunnels and underground vaults in and around Drumalis House but no evidence can be found today to support these theories.



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