Present-day Greenisland

Stall at the Church of Ireland Stall at the Church of Ireland

Greenisland has continued to change and expand throughout the years. Initially a collection of small townlands with strong connections to Carrickfergus it became a popular summer resort for gentlemen with the main concentration of houses and amenities on the Shore Road. With the advent of the railway and the beginnings of a commuter community for the business people of Belfast the focus of the village moved to the area around the railway station. The building of the estate in the 1950s and 60s provided good quality, affordable housing and people came from inner city Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland to work in the new factories in Carrickfergus or to commute into Belfast. More recent housing developments including Farm Lodge, Bates Park, and Longpark have increased the commuter community and Greenisland, now part of the Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area, has over 2000 houses and 5000 residents.

House prices have rocketed especially in the estate. In the 50s and 60s no-one would have believed that their council house would be worth in excess of £150,000.

The Mango Tree The Mango Tree

People are moving into Greenisland from all over the world. The opening up of the European Union to eastern European countries has seen workers arriving from Estonia, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic. Greenisland also has residents from Italy, China, Africa, Japan, America, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

Greenisland has always had strong community spirit. Every Saturday morning, around the site of the Library there is the Mango Tree Coffee Shop in the Baptist Church were everyone is welcome to drop in for tea and buns and in the Church Of Ireland car park there is a stall run by several of the churches with the profits going for the building of an orphanage in Africa. The Knockagh School of Dancing runs all day in the Community Centre.

The Greenisland Community Council continues to work in the community and in its refurbished premises in the Jubilee Hall holds painting classes, yoga classes and a lunch club for senior citizens. At present, in partnership with Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Marie Curie Field of Hope they are working with local school children to plant daffodils around the area of the shops in Glassillan Court. They are also lobbying Translink to provide a bus to the Abbey Centre from Greenisland.

Sporting Groups include the Greenisland Football Club which recently has sent 3 of its young players to the Manchester United Youth Team. There is also the highly regarded Knockagh Wrestling Club, mini-rugby and the Greenisland Ladies Hockey Club which now has 4 teams.

The local Heritage and Environment Group monitors planning proposals affecting Greenisland. It fights plans which would result in the loss of Rights of Way or loss of the Green Belts which protect Greenisland from merging with neighbouring Jordanstown and Trooperslane. The most important planning proposal affecting Greenisland today is Roads Service’s proposal for the upgrading of the A2 Shore Road route. Recent generations of planners allowed building on land laid aside for a by-pass (the gap between the upper and lower estate) and we are now left looking for ‘the least worst option’.

The Roads Service’s current ‘preferred route’ involves a dual carriageway by-pass loop running inland from Seapark through the Green Belt, and returning to a roundabout near the bottom of Station Road. From there a dual carriageway will run along the line of the existing road. This plan would result in the destruction of nearly 250 mature roadside trees not to mention the carving-up of many houses and gardens including the lovely setting of Rosemount. Many people, not just those directly affected await the outcome of the October 2007 Public Inquiry with concern.

The Knockagh Youth Centre continues to provide activities for the young people in Greenisland as well as being a meeting place for the Knockagh Wrestling Club, Army Cadets and EOTAS (Education Other Than At School).

The churches continue to provide for social needs in addition to spiritual ones. They hold youth clubs, mother and toddler groups, bowling clubs, Brownies, Cubs, Boys’ Brigade, Girls’ Brigade, Girl Guides and many more activities.

The Library, as well as being a place to select new books and meet others, provides free Internet access for all its members, has an adult reading group and holds various classes including English, Maths, Local History, Family History and Beginners Computer Classes.

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