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Reviving Rural Crafts Programme

In late 2018 we received funding from The Arts Council NI for a programme – Reviving Rural Crafts, in which we planned to hold a series of courses based on old rural crafts such as Straw Weaving, Basket Weaving and Stone Carving. This was complimented by a grant from the Halifax Foundation NI towards the Wood Carving element of the programme. Many thanks to both funders for making this very popular programme possible.

Straw Weaving

This started in early April ’19 with 6 straw craft classes run by Straw Craft Ireland and we have had a ball! We 12 ladies thought we would be working over 5 weeks in order to be able to produce a reasonably accomplished piece on week 6; not a bit of it! Week 1 we made a Country favour and a Glory Braid! And so it has progressed each week, making 2 if not more items each time. The tutors, Nora and Alisha are brilliant, the craic mighty and the tea and buns fabulous! Highly recommended!

Basket weaving will be started in late April and will be run by the same organisation. The class isn’t started by the time copy went to press so look out on our Facebook page to see the stunning results from this class.
The final part of this funding from the Arts Council NI will be 2 x 6 week Stone carving classes. These will start in September 2019 with the second course starting in January 2020.
To complete the Reviving Rural Crafts Programme we received funding from The Halifax Foundation NI, who are funding 2 x 6 week Wood carving classes. These will start at the same time as the stone carving classes so you could be very busy this September and January.

Basket Weaving

Unfortunately, due to injury, the Basket Weaving tutor was unable to take the planned course, so we had to seek an alternative forgotten craft. We came up with a Traditional hand sewing and embroidery course and plans were put in place for this to commence in early 2020.

Stone Carving

Stone carving courses started on Tuesday 12th September under the expert guidance of Jonny Kerr. Ten students will be creating their own fabulous stone carvings to take home. The Second course has been taking place since January 2020 so watch out in the usual places for the pictures!


This 6 week course in Traditional Needlework, starting on January 2020 is to give the participant an insight on the history and many facets of traditional needlework, how it played an important role in the lives of our ancestors and how it is making a comeback today in both a practical and decorative way in modern life. Each week the participant will be shown how to work the weekly featured needlework so they can get a good introduction in creating the particular needlework, how it started and be able to make an item that was found in the sewing box of the needlewomen of the past, but is still useful in the modern hand sewers needlework box. The course is aimed at complete beginners, so no previous sewing experience is required. This is so it can appeal to a wider community group and maybe encourage more people, who may not have previously shown an interest in needlework, to take the course, learn some traditional crafts and the reason why each type of needlework came about. It is hoped that by the end of the course, some of the participants will continue on with developing their needlework skills that they have learnt throughout the course. Week 1 - Redwork - making a needle book Week 2 - Candlewicking- to make a pin wheel to store your pins Week 3 - Blackwork- biscornu pincushion Week 4 - Hardinger embroidery- scissor fob Week 5 - Whitework - framed picture.  Week 6 - White work (cont.) and finishing off any projects.

Wood carving

Have you ever appreciated the beauty and flowing lines of a woodcarving and thought this is something you would like to try? If so, this class is for you. Stephen Ryan from Green Woodwork Ireland will teach you the skills needed to produce a woodcarving, from the initial sketching of a design, to using a range of carving tools and materials. This class is ideal for people that just want to try something new, along with those that want to take their new-found skills to the next level. No experience necessary. Max: 8 | Suitable for age 16+ | Tutor: Steve Ryan Green Woodwork Ireland. The Halifax Foundation NI funded 2 courses under the theme ‘Forgotten Rural Crafts’. The first course was been fully booked and a second course which started in January is also fully booked, so if you are interested in seeing pictures of the finished work please check out our website or Facebook page at the end of February 2020.

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Some new activities for you to consider. Contact details on each poster. Places limited.

Tree of Life Wire Jewellery Workshop at Aghalee Village Hall Astronomy for Beginners at Aghalee Village Hall Inktense workshop at Aghalee Village Hall

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Aghalee Village Hall News

Download the last edition from here by clicking on the picture or click here for a text only version

Aghalee Village Hall News December 2019

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Advertise your business
in the Aghalee Village Hall Newsletter!

Produced twice a year, Summer and Winter editions, 1,000 copies of the Aghalee Village News are distributed to homes in the village and surrounding area. Contact: or phone 028 9265 2571.

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Shared History Programme Rural Community Network Shared History Programme

Plantation, Conflict and Revolution in Ireland (programme 1)

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council PEACE IV Programme in partnership with Rural Community Network (RCN) is offering a free programme for men from across the Borough that will explore key historical events from 1600 to 1800 and their impact nationally, regionally and locally. The programme will be facilitated by Dr.Eamon Phoenix.

The course will take place on the following dates: 27th February 2020
19th March 2020
5th March 2020
26th March 2020
12th March 2020
Sessions: Thursdays from 7pm - 9pm. Venue: Lurgan Town Hall, Union Street, Lurgan.

Big Bus

Did you see the Action Cancer Big Bus in Aghalee? The bus was fully booked with 23 out of 23 Breast Screenings being carried out and 13 out of 13 MOT Health Checks being carried out. We are hugely grateful to the James Tudor Foundation who funded the visit. We would also like to extend our deepest gratitude to Aghalee Free Presbyterian Church for the use of their car park - the bus is too big for the car park at Aghalee Village Hall. For more information on the James Tudor Foundation visit

Moira Station

Councillor Owen Gawith started a petition to the Department for Infrastructure, Roads Service, Lighting the road from Moira town to Moira station is urgently needed. Please follow this link to the petition page and give your support.

Streetlights call for train station 'death trap' road.

By Luke Sproule BBC News NI

parking on the road at Moira Station

The Station Road runs between Moira and the A26 Lighting is urgently needed on a busy road outside a train station "before someone is seriously hurt", drivers and pedestrians have said. Station Road, which runs between Moira, County Down, and the A26, is used daily by hundreds of people, including pupils heading to school. There are no streetlights along most of the road, which users say makes it dangerous. The Department for Infrastructure said it does not qualify for lighting. Tim Courtney, who lives near Aghalee and uses Moira station to commute when he is working in Belfast, was clipped by a car on the road earlier in January. "I was walking to the overflow car park and a driver coming the other way was really close against the curb to avoid oncoming traffic and clipped me with his wing mirror," the management consultant said. "He was moving over to get out of the way and he just did not see me - it was pitch black and there were cars coming both ways. "Thankfully, I was just bruised on my wrist."

Mr Courtney said lighting, as well as other improvements such as a proper crossing point in the road and wider pavements would make a big difference to safety. "When I stop to think about it, what happened to me need not have happened," he said. "It is little things that would make a difference - being able to cross the road having enough light to be able to be seen be drivers."

'It's a death-trap'

The number of passengers using the station means the car park and overflow car park at the nearby Tannery restaurant are often full by 08:00 GMT, with cars parking in designated spaces along the pavement after that. Jim Burnside, who also lives near Aghalee, clipped a pedestrian while driving along the road in 2019 when he swerved to miss two other people who ran across the road in front of him. "There was a lady in dark clothing and I had no idea she was there, I clipped her with my wing mirror," he said. "It was just by sheer luck I did not hurt her. Can you imagine if I had been two feet more to the left? "You cannot see anything. In the winter it is a death-trap, we are just waiting for somebody to be killed or very seriously injured." The Department for Infrastructure did not reply to requests from BBC News NI for comment on the issue. Alliance Party councillor Owen Gawith said he and others who had raised the issue with the department had received the same response. "I have raised this more than once with them and they have come back consistently to say the road does not fit their formula for street lighting, which only is put in place if there is a certain amount of housing," he said. "They say that because there are only three houses on that whole road, it is therefore a rural road and not a street. "They take no notice of the fact that it runs to the station." Pauline Buller of Aghalee Village Hall, who has also written to the Department for Infrastructure about the issue, added: "It is a safety issue - the road is dangerous. "What people want to see is action to safeguard residents and those who use the station. "We feel unable to do anything, we have tried and asked and we are not getting anywhere."

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Village Renewal UPDATE

The tender for stage one closed at end January, this stage includes the path around the pitches, the fence around the pitches and the playground, multi gym (includes 16 exercises), planting/ landscaping and works to the BT site. The proposed works in Stage two require planning, this includes the wall at the village hall, speed humps, controlled and uncontrolled crossings and the footpath to the nursery. The Consultants are currently putting the tender together for stage two and consultation remains ongoing with DfI roads and planning.

While it had been hoped to complete phase 1 of the scheme before the Easter holidays, the Contractor requires unrestricted access to the playing field at Aghalee in order to install the path and perimeter fence to the pitch and play park. Because the pitch is still in use by local football teams at this time and due to the importance of ensuring H&S of the general public it has been agreed by all parties to delay the start of the works to after the football season when the pitch area can be cordoned off. The works will commence in mid-May and it is estimated that work will run for approximately 12 weeks.

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Road Resurfaced UPDATE

The long awaited improvement of the junction between Brankinstown and Ballycairn Roads was completed at the end of January. This is a great job and the junction and bad bend are now completely resurfaced and much more safe for pedestrians and vehicle users alike. The next job is to petition to have the Ballycairn Road resurfaced as it is a disgrace, with the various utility providers and builders leaving the condition of the road and footpaths in a dreadful state. AVH has already written to DfI to date with only a letter from them to say this road is not currently in the scheme for resurfacing, just repair. Over to you now!

Thanks must go to LCCC for the wonderful floral displays throughout the village which are just beautiful.

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Surgery Parking UPDATE

This post was seen on Facebook in February – posted by PSNI – ‘take note all you footpath parkers! Footpaths are for people, not cars. If you are parking on a footpath you are forcing joggers, buggies, prams, wheelchairs onto the road where they are vulnerable. The problem areas for this are Moira by the train station, outside the Lagan Valley hospital, Ballyregan Road Dundonald and outside the surgery in Aghalee, to name but a few. If you haven’t already received a parking ticket from us and you continue to park on the footpath - you will get one!’

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