Tag Archives: Sir Robert Alexander Shafto Adair

Adair Fountain, People’s Park

In 1860 a proposal was made to create a People’s Park, and the land surrounding the mill pond at Todd’s Hill in Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland was donated by Sir Robert Alexander Shafto Adair Bt. (Baronet) for this purpose. Ten years later the project was completed.

In 1909, a drinking fountain, positioned just inside the gates on the avenue, was presented to the people of Ballymena by Sir Frederick Edward Shafto Adair Bt. It was cast by the Musgrave Foundry of Belfast.

Seated on a circular plinth the highly decorated, circular pedestal supports a quatrefoil basin. Four fluted columns bear four lunettes framed by an arch which also offered hooks from which cups were suspended by chains. On three sides the cartouche contains a dolphin. Dolphins, considered guardians of all things water related, are also found in the capitals. The fourth cartouche contains a dedication shield: Presented to the people of Ballymena by Sir Frederick Adair, Bart 1909. An acroter is banded by a sculptured shell frieze and cornice below the fish scale dome. The structure is surmounted by a finial.

The fountain was designated an historic building in 1987. Restoration of the park was undertaken in 1997, and restoration of the drinking fountain was completed in 2001.


  • Acroter, a flat base
  • Capital, The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, A structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription.
  • Cornice, A molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Finial, A sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted Shaft, A long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Frieze, The horizontal part of a classical entablature just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Lunette, The half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Plinth, Flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Quatrefoil, A type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter