I grew up beside that stretch of road between Antrim and Ballymena. It was always a busy road. When we were young the old ones called it ‘the line’ and said things like, “You be careful now crossing that line!” We always were. The traffic was always whizzing along, a constant noise in the background that we never actually noticed.
That road claimed many of the family’s cats and dogs. Aunt Mary lost more than one Jack Russell on the line. The first of our dogs called Danny met his end there and Kerry Sister’s lovely Ellie was knocked down and killed one early morning.
Over the years the traffic has steadily increased and now the road is a dual carriageway. It’s strange to think now of my father’s stories of playing ball in the road outside the pub. He told us that cars hardly ever passed during his childhood.
Old Jeremiah told tales of herding cattle up that road in the 1930s. He’d walk them five miles into Ballymena Market then would walk home again with the beasts all sold. He got five shillings for doing that and considered himself well paid.
Driving home from Matty’s this evening I came upon an accident near to Ross’s Factory. I don’t know exactly what had taken place but there were three big dead bullocks at the side of the road. The line is no place for cattle now.