The first day after the summer solstice presented fine weather for our small but enthusiastic group which set off on the outing under the sure guidance of Maurice, our Causeway Coach driver. Right on schedule, we arrived at the Mossley Mill complex to be met by our guide, Lara, and fortified by mid-morning hot drink and scone,were ready to begin the tour. This included a comprehensive exhibition area covering the history of the mill from the mid 18th century up to its closure in 1995. For most of this period the mill expanded under the direction of the Campbell familywho appeared to be benevolent employers, providing reasonable working conditions, tied housing and leisure facilities for the employees. Our group was also given access to the well-appointed Council Chamber for the Newtownabbey & Antrim Borough Council.
Following the tour, all were ready for the adequate lunch provided by the in-house restaurant, which set us up for the second venue on the programme, Sentry Hill, at nearby Carnmoney. Here our group was divided into 2 sections, each with a guide, to be taken on a room by room tour of the 19th century farmhouse, much of it unchanged since the last occupants were in residence during the mid 20th century. The principal character, William McKinney (1832-1917), was mainly responsible for the wealth of photographs, paintings and artifacts on display throughout the house. A further bonus to the visit was a stroll round the beautifully kept garden in pleasant June sunshine – a fitting conclusion to a most enjoyable day.
For further reading on Sentry Hill see “Sentry Hill, an Ulster Farm and Family” by Brian M. Walker (Friar’s Bush Press), 1981.