Cloughmills History

Cloughmills village, in County Antrim, lies 8 miles south of Ballymoney and 10 miles north of Ballymena.

Situated to the east of the famous Frosses trees, Cloughmills has its own rich heritage stemming from its location on the Great Royal Road (Slighe Midluachre). In ancient times this formed the main route from the seat of the High Kings of Ireland at Tara, in County Meath, to Dunseverick Castle (Dunsobairce) on the north coast.

Cloughmills takes its name from reference to the Irish word ‘cloch’ (meaning stone) and the many corn and flax scutching ‘mills’ that once graced the surrounding countryside. The earliest reference to a mill located in the village is documented in a lease granted by the Earl of Antrim in 1720. This corn mill, located near a crossing of the Cloughmills Water at the southern end of the village, is known locally as the ‘Old Mill’.

When the first Ordnance Survey was taken, in 1832, the village had 101 inhabitants. With a population of 1993 recorded in the 2011 census, it has become the largest village in the Ballymoney Council area.

Historic People & Places

Samuel Robinson (1865-1958) was born in Culcrum Road and after an apprenticeship in his uncle’s store in Ballymoney he emigrated to Philadelphia in 1888. There he set up a grocery business which became one of the largest foodstore companies in the United States - American Stores Company (ACME). In 1933 he funded the building of the Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ballymoney as a memorial to his parents.

Alexander (Sandy) McGuckian (1895-1952) was born in Cloughmills and as a young man started a piggery on the family farm which, through his expertise in animal husbandry, became the biggest pig farm in the world. He was also a leading expert on grassland management and served on many agricultural and government advisory bodies during his lifetime. The McGuckian family is still active in the pig and farming business on the Drumbare Road.

Lissanoure Castle is situated about four miles north in the Loughgiel district. The estate contains the ruins of a 13th century castle which was the home of George, Earl Macartney , who became the first British Ambassador to China in 1792. During the 2nd World War the estate became a base for American troops and after D-day was used as a prisoner of war camp. The estate is in private ownership and is strictly private.