Ballycarry bonfire builders urged: ‘Burn beacon’

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Bonfire builders in Ballycarry have been urged to consider replacing the traditional pyre with a modern beacon.

An anonymous letter to the Larne Times, which claimed to be penned by “concerned citizens”, contended that the annual bonfire endangered nearby buildings, a play area and residents’ cars. A photo supplied with the letter allegedly showed ash that had fallen on a vehicle parked some 300 metres from the fire last Eleventh Night.

The letter appealed for consideration to be shown for the new amphitheatre and urged for a beacon to replace the bonfire. Councils also champion beacons, because the fire is contained in a cage, making it easier to control and cheaper to clear away after the Twelfth celebrations.

We asked Ballycarry community leader and leading Orangeman Dr David Hume for his thoughts on the issue.

The director of services with the Grand Orange Lodge told us: “Collecting material for Eleventh night bonfires is an important part of loyalist heritage and tradition, but it is also important that these people don’t cause a nuisance to others in the community in the process.”

He added: “Bonfire builders need to act responsibly, as they did in Ballycarry last year. This year, they seem to have started collecting material earlier.

“This weekend will see the official opening of Ballycarry’s new amphitheatre, and as a former chairman of the village’s community association, I would appeal for people to wait until this event has finished before they start gathering more material for the bonfire. In terms of the suggestion that a beacon should replace the traditional bonfire in the village, I have no issue with that and think it would be a good idea. But it is important to have a consensus on this issue with the bonfire builders.”