Portglenone, County Antrim

The River Bann divides this village in two, with part of the population living in County Londonderry and the rest in County Antrim. They are connected by a wide bridge.

Black basalt stone has been used in many of the buildings in the village, particularly the churches, such as the 18th century Protestant church that dominates the scene. A plaque on Main Street marks the place where a local boy, Timothy Eaton, learned his trade as a draper in the mid-19th century. An industrious boy, he worked 16 hours a day and slept under the counter. He later emigrated to Canada and established a chain of retail stores bearing his name.

South of the village is a Cistercian monastery, founded in the 1950s in a Gregorian mansion. The monks, in their flowing brown and white robes, can be seen working the land and in their gift shop, which sells organic flour, jams, souvenirs and linen.

Portglenone is a hidden gem that is worth a visit on your tours of Ireland.