Northern Ireland

Hundreds of mattresses brought to controversial bonfire site

Craigyhill bonfire close to pyre site where man fell to death in 2022

Mattresses dumped at Craigyhill Bonfire in Larne. NO BYLINE
Mattresses are being piled at Craigyhill Bonfire in Larne

Hundreds of mattresses have been brought to the site of a controversial Eleventh Night bonfire in Co Antrim.

It is understood the mattresses, which when set alight can give off toxic fumes and smoke, were delivered to the Craigyhill area of Larne in recent days.

In previous years, serious concerns have been raised about the safety of the bonfire, which is near where 36-year-old John Steele fell to his death while helping to build a bonfire in the Antiville area in 2022.

Posts on social media suggests that up to 1,600 mattresses and a trailer load of pallets have already been delivered to the site around three months before Eleventh Night celebrations.

Mattresses dumped at Craigyhill Bonfire in Larne. NO BYLINE
Mattresses at Craigyhill bonfire site

The bonfire has made headlines in recent years over attempts by the organisers to set an official world record for height.

However, their hopes went up in flames last year when Guinness World Records confirmed it would not send an adjudicator to the event.

The current world record is more than 198ft, for a pyre built in Austria.

Organisers say building work on this year’s Craigyhill bonfire is due to begin next month.

Pictures of mattresses being unloaded from a lorry trailer have been posted on a Facebook page and are accompanied by the words “another 40 footer full of mattresses...booooom”.

Another post shows dozens of mattresses being taken from a large van along with the message “when you have 600 mattresses arrive at your bonfire site...and still another 1,000 or more still to come”.

Another post this month shows a picture of a lorry with its signage and registration obscured along with the message: “Things you like to see...pallets getting delivered (free ones).”

Alliance MLA Danny Donnelly urged bonfire builders to rethink their actions.

“Having hundreds of mattresses in a bonfire clearly shows the organisers have no concern for the well-being of others,” he said.

“I urge them to remove these mattresses before it is too late.

“Burning items such as mattresses can release dangerous chemicals and toxic smoke into the atmosphere. Local residents will be the ones who will suffer of this if these mattresses are lit as part of this bonfire.”

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council was contacted.