Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Raloo Parish, County Antrim

Raloo Parish, County Antrim, Ulster, Northern Ireland
From The Irvines and Their Kin by Lucinda Boyd, Chicago, Illinois, 1908:
    There is no district in all of Ireland so rich in armorial bearings as the neighborhood of Larne. The churchyards of Carncastle, Glynn, and Raloo [pictured] abound with them. The churchyard of Raloo is over-grown with long grass and weeds, so as to be almost inaccessible. But one may pull aside obstructions and remove lichens from the tall gray tombstones; trace the arms carved upon them, and read the names of the Craigs, McDowells, Crawfords, Boyds, and others.
    There is an old book, more than six hundred years old (I was told), that I found at Fair Hill, near Larne. It had belonged to successive sextons for hundreds of years, from the dates it contained, the last one being 1775, and giving a description of the flag adopted by the American Colonies. It is written in longhand, and has pen-pictures of the Coats of Arms of the Carlisles, Earls of Kilmarnock, McDowells, Irvines, Johnstons, Crawfords, and Blairs, and many others not connected with this history. In the beginning of the book this appears, written in a clerkly hand: "Nobilitatis virtus non stemma"–"Virtue, not pedigree, is the mark of nobility.”