ONCE you see it, you just know that this is the house of Terence ‘Sambo’ McNaughton. The instructions were clear; go into the village, drive past the hurling field, turn right and you will see it.
Two tin models are strapped to the rails in front, one in Antrim saffron, the other in Ruairi Og maroon. Stray sliotars lie on grass verges and around gutters.
It’s only a Sambo-sized sideline cut away from the hurling field, and a decent goalkeepers’ puck from the Irish Sea. It’s hurling heartland and on a day splashed with winter sunshine, perfect.
You tell him he doesn’t know he’s living in a place like this, but he contradicts you.
“Indeed I do.” He takes the family dog, ‘Bo’, for a walk from the house down the road and in through the caravan park. From there on around Limerick Point to the beach. At the beach you see some impressive houses sprouting out of the Layde cliffs and he recounts a local poem;
As I walk around Limerick Point/
I look upon Layde/
Spoilt by bastards with money made
“There’s Scotland over there, the Mull of Kintyre, but sure you probably knew that,” he says.
That’s just the way it is with Sambo, generous with his time and his thoughts as he takes you on a tour of Cushendall.
He points out the gable wall of the shop with the bullet holes filled in from a Black and Tan raid, and the murder scene of three young men of the village.
A plaque is erected opposite where the slain bodies lay. He shows you the Curfew Tower, built by town landlord Francis Turnley in 1817 to house prisoners, and chime a bell that indicated it was time for people to make themselves scarce.
Hard to believe, but Bill Drummond of avant-garde dance artists KLF owns it now and lets it out as an artist’s residence.
If you would like to read the whole story, buy the current issue of Gaelic Life – published February 9 – online or in your local newsagent