When it comes to planning ahead for the arrival of the Giro d’Italia, one local business is certainly galloping ahead with plans!
For Shean’s Horse Farm in Armoy is saddling up to provide a “safe passage” for the Giro riders through the historic territory of Sorley Boy McDonnell.
Sorley Boy McDonnell was a Great Mc Donnell chieftain who controlled the Causeway Coast and the Route area in the 16th century.
Sorley had very strong links with The Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland with strongholds all along the Causeway Coast from Dunluce Castle to Ballygally Castle with his base near to Ballycastle and close to Bonamargy Abbey where he is now buried.
The event is being organised by Shean’s Horse Farm and supported by The Clan Donald Skye Centre from the Isle of Skye.
Members of the McDonnell clan and supporters will gather at Dunluce Castle on horse back to honour the memory of Sorley Boy McDonnell.
Danny McKinley explained: “They are theoretically welcoming the Giro Cyclists and offering them the “granting of safe passage“ along the Causeway Coast by escorting them on horses past Dunluce, Kenbane and Redbay Castles.
“Similar events are now also being set up at Ballymena and Ballymoney as the theme is being carried on throughout all of the original McDonnell territory.
“Direct descendants of Sorley Boy McDonnell, the McDonnell family of Glenarm (the present Earl of Antrim’s family) will be on horseback along with horse riders dressed with pink tunics or cloaks will from the fields on either side of the main road make a welcome gesture to the cyclists as they cycle towards Dunluce Castle.
“They will then escort them by galloping in the fields along side the cyclists as far as just past the Portballintrae junction.
“This theme would be continued along the Causeway Coastal Route with horse riders being posted as look-outs all along the route with a group of riders at Kenbane Castle at Ballycastle and Redbay Castle at Waterfoot offering the same type of escort in the fields on the road
past the castles.
“The event finishes at Ballygally Castle Hotel with the McDonnells proudly waving them farewell having successfully accomplished their mission.”