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Dan winter’s Cottage, built in 1623, is situated close to Loughgall village at the Diamond Crossroads on the corner of Derryloughan road, directly in the centre of where the famous Battle of the Diamond took place in 1795. It is a mud walled cottage and at 98 feet is the longest thatched cottage in Ireland. This Cottage was the home and business of Dan Winter where he carried out his business of a publican and a grocer.
During the battle Dan Winter’s home and business was attacked. The Spirit Grocers was ransacked and the whiskey and beer were run off, the barrels that held them were destroyed. The bags of meal and flour and the supplies of tea and sugar were scattered on the street, the webs of linen and piles of yarn were thrown everywhere and the furniture was smashed. The thatched roof on the cottage caught fire and the beams on the ceilings became scorched from the heat of the blaze and are still visible to the present day.
Dan and his family fought off their attackers and stood to protect their hearth and home. After the battle, Dan Winter, together with the victors of the battle, gathered around a spring well in a field opposite the cottage and vowed to form a society for their mutual protection. This was an informal decision but whilst victors of the battle stayed in the area to protect the cottage, some representatives later met in Sloan’s inn, Loughgall where the society was officially formed and is now known as the Orange Order.
Each county was issued warrants and Orange Lodges were set up all around Northern Ireland. In 1995 we had a special 200th anniversary of the battle of the Diamond when Orange lodges from all over Ireland and afar came to the Diamond to celebrate the bicentenary. The grand master of the Orange order, Robert Salters, along with Rev Ian Paisley were guests at the official opening of the cottage in 2000.
The cottage is listed as “Dan Winter’s cottage which was set on fire during the battle of the Diamond in 1795.” This listing is due to the historical significance of the scorched beams from the thatch which was set alight during the battle. The scorched beams can still be seen today in the living quarters of the cottage along with the spirit grocers and weaving shop which still contains the original 300 year old weaving loom in full working order.
All the old traditional relics are still maintained within the cottage. During the battle lead balls were fired from the top of the fields at the back of the cottage. They are still embedded within its very structure and have never been removed due to the delicate nature of the mud walls. This draws a lot of interest as We have metal detectors on site which can be used to detect them.
Today the number of Orange Order members has increased with lodges setting up all around the world including countries like Canada and America making it one of the largest organisations in the world. The cottage survived the attack during the battle and this year we will be celebrating another special anniversary as Dan Winter’s cottage will be 400 years old.
During those years many people have occupied and visited the cottage and these include people of influence. These visits were from John Wesley and a Mr Govan who were evangelical preachers. Wesley preached all over Northern Ireland between 1756 and 1789 and It was here at the Diamond Crossroads that he came to preach the gospel. Reverend John Winter also presided at the cottage after his retirement as rector of Augher, County Tyrone. He continued his work within the church on occasions after his retirement and died on 5th May 1926, aged 62. In more recent years the reverend Ian Paisley preached in front of the cottage. This annual event took place every July on the Sunday before the twelfth July celebrations gathering crowds of up to 10,000 people. Robert and Greta Winter lived in the cottage from 1957 until Robert passed in 1985. They had a family of 10 children, 4 boys and 6 girls. After Robert passed in 1985 Greta continued to live in the cottage until 1988 when she moved to Loughgall village. Greta had since moved to Richhill village and lived here until her passing on 2nd January 2023.
Greta was a keen artist and the print shown is one of her beautiful paintings which she painted of the Cottage. The print is on sale to mark the 400th anniversary of the cottage. 1623-2023. These prints are limited edition as only 400 have been printed and will be on sale at the cottage and directly from Colin Winter. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Mob: 07714849729 Landline: 02838852171 These signed Prints are individually numbered and are priced at £75 +p&p. All proceeds will go towards the repair and upkeep of the Cottage. Colin is the present day owner of the cottage as his father left responsibility of its upkeep to him.
Colin is a true direct descendant of Dan Winter who has worked tirelessly and without monetary help or assistance from any source and has maintained the Cottage and its contents in its original state. It is well worth a visit and everyone is more than welcome to come & embrace an amazing historical experience.