A HISTORIC SETTING…
In 1933 the Gleno Dairy Produce Company Ltd was established at this site, following on from a co-operative creamery founded here in 1914 to market fairly the produce of the local farming community. The Gleno Diary Produce Company’s first manager was James Dunlop and its chairman was a Belfast businessman W. R. Hamilton of Albertbridge Road. Among the Board of Directors was James McDowell of Blackhill, Ballycarry, whose family continued to be associated with business and commerce here over the generations to the present day.
The Dairy has retained the spirit of the 1930s business and you will find tangible evidence of the past in the furnishings and artefacts inside. The tables in the café are made of old beams from Gleno dairy, and an impressive internal design feature gives a new life to windows from the old building. Look out also for the unique seat made from the conveyor belt at the dairy and the old weighing scales.
You will also find that the original principles of the old dairy still apply; provision of local products, providing employment for local people, meticulous attention to cleanliness, and providing the best service possible. In keeping with how the original dairy had its own unique products, the modern farm shop, café and butchers has bespoke products including its very own The Dairy coffee brand, supplied by 38 Expresso and specially made for Gleno.
The name of Gleno is an ancient one and means “valley of the yew tree”. There is evidence of ancient settlement here and the picturesque row of houses at the centre of the village date back to the 18th century. The village was in more recent times the original home of Maud’s Ice Cream, one of Northern Ireland’s thriving food companies and the National Trust own the magnificent waterfall which annually attracts visitors from near and far.
The Gleno Valley is ancestral home, through the Irvine and Bulloch families, to United States President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th President of the United States. Roosevelt wrote in admiration of his Scotch-Irish forebearers who had been pioneers on the frontiers of America and played a leading role in the American Revolution. He was one of many US Presidents of Ulster descent; among those connected to this area were also President Andrew Johnston (Raloo), President Andrew Jackson (Ballycarry and Carrickfergus) and Vice President John Cabel Breckinridge (Ballyrickard).
Gleno was also the birthplace of the remarkable Martha Craig (1867-1950), inventor and explorer, who was the first woman to lecture at the University of Salamanca in Spain and the first white woman to explore the interior of Labrador, Canada. She was also an honorary Native American princess and lived at Carneal outside the village.
The Dairy is part of a rich history in a beautiful part of Northern Ireland. Enjoy your visit.