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16 October 2014
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More on Ballymena's Squire O'Hara

It's great to see so much about Squire O'Hara on the site.

Squire O'Hara - The headless Horseman

More on Ballymena's Squire O'Hara

Squire O'Hara's monument. Photo taken by Jim Kelso
Squire O'Hara's monument
Photo taken by Jim Kelso

It's great to see so much about Squire O'Hara on this site.

However, Mark's story is wonderful but I'm afraid also slightly inaccurate. Henry Hutchinson Hamilton O'Hara was indeed buried at Ballyclug Cemetary, Ballymarlow, just off the Larne Road, Ballymena. But the column of his monument wasn't sheared off by a bolt of lightning in a storm. It was in fact made this way to signify what was referred to as a member of the "decayed gentry." The Squire squandered most of his inheritance on the 'finer things in life' and was a frequent gambler. It is in connection with his gambling incompetence that he became known as the Fool O'Hara since his fellow gamblers used to place him in front of a mirror so that they could read his cards. Fool O'Hara was more a term of endearment rather than one of ridicule since he was well liked by his tenants especially in Harryville, which incidentally, was previously known as Henryville - named after Squire O'Hara - and, over time,changed to its present name.

He was born on 5 June 1829 and died 27 Dec.1875 aged only 46 years. The Squire's monument bears the following inscription: "He was a most kind and liberal landlord and this monument is erected by the tenants on his estates in grateful and affectionate remembrance."

He remains, however, one of the most talked about historical figures connected with Ballymena - especially at Hallowe'en!

Jim Kelso.
"Your Place & Mine."

Note from NI Editor:
Jim heard from Karen Magill, who is hoping to organise coach tours of the area, about Squire O'Hara. ( Your Place & Mine programme, October 2003).

Click Here to listen to the interview.


Read an Article by Dr Robert Simpson on The Ghost of Graigbilly

Click here to read "Ballymena's Headless Horseman"

Click here to read Mark Telford's memories of the 'Legend of Squire O'Hara.'

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