Once the training depot for the Royal Ulster Rifles, then the Royal Irish Rangers and latterly the Royal Irish Regiment, St Patrick’s Barracks in Ballymena was closed in 2007 as defence cuts were implemented.
The loss of the home training depot for the Irish regiments was sorely felt in Ballymena itself where the local community had built up a strong relationship with the military but the severing of the local trainig ties was also a bitter blow to communites throughout Northern Ireland.
Over the years, the square at St Patrick’s had witnessed thousands of soldiers from across the whole of Ireland and further afield receive their induction into the arts of drill and, of course, was the scene of scores of ‘passing out’ parades.
One of the great links between the local community at the Regiment was the ‘Beating The Retreat’ ceremony at which the hugely popular band with bugles, pipes and drums were the star attraction.
The ceremony was filmed by Ballymena camera and video enthusiast Sammy McCaig.