High note for village square

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The beautifully restored village square in historic Gracehill will be the venue for a Brass Band concert on Saturday, May 30.

The al fresco event, which will start at 2pm, is part of the activities, involving many Churches in Ballymena, celebrating the visit of The Methodist Modern Art Collection to the town.

Those who attend will find that the village square has been restored to its former glory reminding residents and visitors of the important international links and rich history of this Moravian settlement.

Restoration was achieved through a scheme spearheaded by Gracehill Old School Trust (GhOST) working with the Gracehill Congregation which involved replanting traditional hedging, maintenance work to historic trees, reinstatement of pathways and restoration of the village pond and installation of safety railing.

Funding was obtained from a number of sources including Ballymena Borough Council, the NIEA Challenge fund, and the Rural Development Fund.

During research of the historic detail for the restoration it became clear that the Moravians had also contributed to reconciliation during turbulent times in Ireland over 200 years ago and that the Square was central to the story.

It was decided to name the pathways around the Square “The 1798 Walk” and to erect an obelisk inscribed with a diary entry from June 10, 1798, in order to mark the rich history of this Settlement and the unique part played by Gracehill in events of that time.

The newly restored Square is once again not only a place of contemplation and beauty but also a tangible reminder of a Moravian motto “ In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty and in all things love.”