Appeal for parking facilities at Ballynoe Stone Circle

Appeal for parking facilities at Ballynoe Stone Circle

15 September 2021

A LEADING government department has been asked to provide a new parking facility to cater for the needs of people visiting the historic Ballynoe Stone Circle outside Downpatrick.

The appeal has been issued to the Department for Communities by South Down MLA Colin McGrath and local councillor Gareth Sharvin.

Describing the landmark as a “beautiful area”, Mr McGrath said the location does not  always receive the attention that it richly deserves.

“This Neolithic masterpiece has a history that is steeped in mystery and wonder that is so reflective of our Gaelic tradition and heritage,” he continued.

“Some have likened it as Co Down’s own Dark Hedges when, in fact, Ballynoe has been around a lot longer and has a richer tradition than the Co Antrim site.”

Mr McGrath said that unfortunately, there is simply no parking provision at the site which means that very often it is overlooked and visitors and tourists are not able to enjoy the beautiful monument.

He added: “I am proud of my heritage in Downpatrick and want to celebrate all that is good about this area and all that we have. I’ll be updating my constituents in the coming weeks about this, but if we really want to celebrate this area and sites such as Ballynoe then we need the government department to work with us. 

“Let’s bring Ballynoe Stone Circle into the 21st century and ensure it is an essential part of our tourism product.”

Cllr Sharvin said he and Mr McGrath believe the Department for Communities “needs to think big” when it comes to Ballynoe. 

“It would not be acceptable to me as a councillor for Downpatrick to think that those with additional physical needs or with children should have to walk a significant distance from their car to the site when there is no footpath and the road can be quite narrow,” he added.

The local politicians have confirmed that they have written to the Department for Communities requesting that new parking provision is provided.