The area is rich in local history and there has been a settlement here since neolithic times. In early Christian times an enclosure site - the fifth largest in Northern Ireland - existed and was approximately where the Templecorran church and surrounding fields are today. An early Christian gravestone in the cemetery highlights this tradition. The medieval church of Templecorran was replaced by a new church erected on the walls of the old when Scottish settlers arrived from 1609. They brought the first Presbyterian minister in 1613, Rev. Edward Brice, and the community developed under the leadership of William Edmonstone, Laird of Duntreath in Stirlingshire.
Throughout its history there have been many key figures association with Ballycarry, among them James Orr, the Bard of Ballycarry, who is Ulster's equivalent poem to Robert Burns. Plans are currently underway to develop The Weaver's Trail, which will highlight the life and times of Orr. Another prominent local was John Neilson, an exile of the 1798 Rising whose 16 year old brother William was hanged by the authorities for his part in the Rising. Neilson became personal architect to President Thomas Jefferson and worked on his home at Monticello and also the University of Virginia. General Sir James Steele was the staff officer who signed the mobilisation order which took the UK to war in 1939 and he was born at Leafield Farm outside the village in 1894.
In the 20th century the village was home to troops from England, the United States and Belgium during the Second World War, was also the location for a co-operative creamery in the early decades of the century and from 1993 earned itself a place in Northern Ireland history as the venue for the longest established Ulster Scots festival in the British Isles, the Broadisland Gathering.