Aghalee Village Hall is one of the last remaining Carnegie Halls in Ireland and has been in existence since 1933. It was built to provide a suitable venue for the local community for educational and recreational classes and other important social events in this very rural area. Run by a Management Committee of local residents, all sorts of interesting and community based activities have taken place. The hall survived one World War and The Troubles relatively unscathed and was pressed into action during both.
Each Management Committee has maintained the hall with subscriptions from people using the hall and each committee has tried to promote the growth of community relations and development as well as provide various educational, recreational and community events to encourage the local population to take part in local and community life. Two annual events are held - a family 'Fun Day and BBQ' in August and a village 'Lighting Up Ceremony' in December.
The village hall is the hub in the centre of the village and is a safe and neutral venue for everyone in the local community. Other than paid cleaning staff, everyone else is a volunteer. It takes time, effort and concern for the local community for the band of dedicated volunteers to make all of these events possible.
The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
The population and housing of Aghalee village has increased by over 100% in the last 10 years and the village covers a very large hinterland right from the shores of Lough Neagh to Ballinderry Lower, Moira and Aghagallon. There has been a substantial effort to encourage the community to make use of the hall, which is unique in the area. There has been some success with this and in 2005, the then management committee was honoured by the award of The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, in recognition of the work carried out over the years by so many on behalf of their community.