Cats For Peru hoax

Parkgate, County Antrim

Parkgate is a small village in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It lies at the foot of Donegore Hill, near the Six Mile Water. It is about mid-way between Ballyclare and Antrim town. It had a population of 646 people in the 2001 Census. It lies within the Antrim Borough Council area.

Places of interest

Near Parkgate is a holestone with the hole being about 5cm in diameter at its narrowest and situated around waist height in the stone. It is associated with marriages, where the bride and groom would hold hands through the hole during the ceremony. There is an old legend regarding a black horse that inhabits the field in which the holestone is situated. According to this legend a young couple were married at the stone, but the groom committed an act of adultery on their wedding night. For this act he was cursed by the stone to spend eternity as a horse, never dying, and never able to leave that field unless the gate is left open.

Joseph's Belt


It was the site of the Cats For Peru hoax in 1870, related in Arthur McKeown's 1998 book, The Man From Peru. While McKeown's book is cast as a storybook, a primer for students of English as a second language, local historians attest to the truth of the story. See, for example, Where the Six Mile Water Flows by Jack McKinney (Friars Bush Press 1991).

2001 Census

Parkgate is classified as a small village or hamlet by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (ie with population between 500 and 1,000 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 646 people living in Parkgate. Of these:

  • 26.7% were aged under 16 years and 14.8% were aged 60 and over
  • 50.3% of the population were male and 49.7% were female
  • * 4.0% were from a Catholic background and 92.4% were from a Protestant background
  • 2.0% of people aged 16-74 were unemployed.


External links

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