Saturday, June 11, 2005


Yes, once again, the magical mystery tour that is a Saturday afternoon landed in Ballymena. But there was something new and different today. As well as ma wandering around the shops and me wandering to Faith Mission etc, we also visited the Royal Irish Regiment museum in St Patrick's Barracks. In what is a site very close to the town centre, we had never been past it up close before, but we ventured in anyway (getting in past the security man!).

A group from my work had been there yesterday, but I was unable to go along (due to having meetings to go to), so I thought I might as well, while I was in the area. The tour started outside, looking at various memorials from Korea, and to the UDR and RIR, as well as some armoured vehicles and tanks in the grounds down towards the parade square. Then inside, there are a series of models and exhibits charting the progress of the regiments that would eventually become the Royal Irish Regiment (which only began on the 1st July 1992), begin merged from the Royal Ulster Rifles and the Ulster Defence Regiment.

The museum was very good, and the shop was well stocked with posters, postcards, books, cds, videos and other products connected with the RIR and preceding regiments. The staff were also helpful, giving a good tour of the outside elements, and then letting us wander inside. If you're ever about Ballymena on a Wednesday or Saturday from 2pm - 5pm, call into St Patrick's Barracks and have a look. It is well worth a visit, and a bargain for £1 entrance fee!

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