Member’s 100th Birthday Celebration

Norman arriving with his son and daughters

Our member Norman Irwin celebrated his 100th birthday on 17 November 2018. A lunch, which was held in the Bushtown House Hotel, was attended by over 100 guests including the Mayor, Lord Lieutenant and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Co. Londonderry. Norman received a card from the Queen and a gift from the President of the Republic of Ireland.


Norman and the Lord Lieutenant of Co. Londonderry Mrs. Alison Millar

Norman with Diana and Chris Kirkpatrick

The event raised a significant amount of money in aid of MacMillan Cancer.

Robert Anderson

It is with great sadness that we report the sudden death of our Chairman Robert Anderson. Robert passed away on Sunday 4 November 2018 after a short illness. He was a life long member of the Society, a committee member, frequent contributor to the Bann Disc and this year its new editor. Robert published many books on local history and for a list of these  See What Books Have Our Members Published in the News section. A commemoration of Robert’s life was held in Coleraine Town Hall on Friday 30 November at 8pm. and was very well attended. Robert will be greatly missed.


What Books Have Our Members Published?


Outing 23 June 2018

28 members and visitors had an enjoyable outing on a pleasant sunny day.

Our guide for the day was Mr. Ken McCormack who joined us at our first destination, Dunmore House, Carrigans, Donegal. Here we were met by Lady McFarland who occupies the house. After tea and scones we were told of the history of the house and its occupants. We strolled through the beautiful walled garden which has several accurate sundials.

Dunmore House

In September 1938 a tragedy occurred in which 3 people died. According to local newspapers an inquest jury found that Mrs J. McClintock, wife of Colonel McClintock and mother of William, had shot herself and her son on the day prior to his marriage to Miss Margaret Macworth. On finding her fiancee dead Margaret then shot herself.

Dunmore House

A sundial being studied in the walled garden at Dunmore

Our next stop was St. Columb’s Park House in Derry/Londonderry. This 18th century manor house has been a peace and reconcilitation centre since its restoration in 1994. (William M. Thackery stayed here in 1840). Here we had lunch.

St. Columb’s Park House

Our final venue was Ashbrook House, the original part of which was built in 1590, and continuously occupied by the Beresford – Ash family. Set in 30 acres of mature parkland it is close to the River Faughan.

Ashbrook House

Tea/ coffee and biscuits in the dining room of Ashbrook House.

AGM and Dinner 2018

Anne-Marie Huston, Chairman Robert Anderson, Mike Jones, Speaker John McNally, Diana Kirkpatrick, Chris Kirkpatrick

56 members and guests enjoyed a meal in the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine on Tuesday 20 March.

Robert Anderson was re-elected as Chairman and 4 new committee members, Jim McCleary, Bill Wilsdon, Ken Parkes and Geoff Warke, were elected to fill the places of Jo Carter, Jennifer Cunningham, Chris Kirkpatrick and Diana Kirkpatrick who stood down. Mike Turner was co-opted.

Speaker for the night was John McNally, Chairman of Portrush Heritage Group, who gave an illustrated talk on the history of the Group and its many current projects.

Book Launch by a Member

Coleraine Town Hall on Saturday 11 November 2017 was the venue for our member Ronnie Gamble to launch his latest book along with joint author Keith Ferguson. Champions of the Bann is a history of the Bann Rowing Club from 1841 to 1987.

Diana Book Launch (2)

From left: Betty Bones, Diana Kirkpatrick, Billy Bones (President of BRC), Ronnie Gamble and Isobel Gamble.

Outing 17 June 2017

Twenty nine members and guests went on the Outing.

Our first stop was Sinclair Seamen’s Church in Corporation Square, Belfast. A most interesting church which was built in 1857 and contains many maritime artefacts including the bell from HMS Hood (WW1), a ship’s wheel and capstan, an incliner, binnacle, ship’s log and an anchor.


Our next stop was the gasworks museum in Carrickfergus, the only one in Ireland. To sustain us before the talk and tour we were offered tea, coffee, biscuits and tray bakes. A comprehensive tour explained the production of gas from coal from 1855 to 1987. Many examples of  gas powered equipment were on display. Some brave members climbed to the top of the gas holder and had an excellent view over the town. After closure the plant was restored by Carrickfergus Gasworks Preservation Society.


A substantial meal was served in the Chimney Corner Hotel before our last stop in the village of Gracehill which was set up by Moravians, from what is now the  Czech Republic, in 1765. After a visit to the old school house we then had a  walk around the grass covered square which was was so peaceful. Finally we visited the church and here we learnt of the early and present life and customs of a Moravian in the village.

Some of the houses in the village will be open to the public on Heritage Weekend in September.

gracehill church


AGM and Dinner 2017

Our AGM and Dinner were held in the Lodge Hotel Coleraine on Tuesday 21 March 2017. The existing committee was re-elected with Robert Anderson taking over the Chair from Barbara Harding. Sixty-six members and guests enjoyed an excellent meal followed by John Moore’s  illustrated talk on the changing face of Portrush. In 1837 the first hotel opened – the Antrim Arms. 1855 saw the first train arrive. 1891 the famous White House store opened and still survives today. Sadly Fawcett’s, the Metropole, Northern Counties and Castle Erin hotels no longer exist. The railway station still exists and the famous clock is in storage.


2017/18 Committee. Back row:- Joanne Kennedy, Mike Jones, Jennifer Cunningham, Nigel McIlwaine, Michael Thompson. Front row:- Jo Carter, Chris Kirkpatrick,(Treasurer), Robert Anderson,(Chairman), Diana Kirkpatrick, (Secretary), Barbara Harding, Anne-Marie Huston.


Outing 11 June 2016
lissan house

On Saturday 11 June 2016 29 members and 4 guests left Coleraine at 9.30am to visit Lissan House near Cookstown. On arrival we were served scones, tea and coffee in the ballroom.

Tea, coffee and scones in the ballroom of Lissan House

Tea, coffee and scones in the ballroom

This was followed by a conducted tour of the house lasting over an hour. The original part of the house dates back to the 17th century.Restoration work has been done and much more is required and this is under way when funds are available. It is not a National Trust property. [The house featured in the BBC’s Restoration programme several years ago and came second thanks to the efforts of its then occupier Ms Dolling, now deceased.] The house is well worth a visit.

After Lissan House we had an excellent lunch in Tullylagan Country House Hotel and this was followed by a visit to Killymoon Castle.

Killymoon Castle

Our final stop for tea, coffee and biscuits was at the Burnavon Centre in Cookstown. A very enjoyable day.


AGM and Dinner 15 March 2016

Sixty eight members and guests attended the AGM and dinner in the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine. Last year’s committee was re-elected. An excellent meal was followed by an interesting talk by speaker Alison McCaughan. She chose various dates from the 1600’s onwards and told us in what state the town of Coleraine would have been.


2016/2017 Committee Members – Front Row from left: Chris Kirkpatrick, Diana Kirkpatrick, Speaker Alison McCaughan, Barbara Harding, Jo Carter. Back Row from left: Nigel McIlwaine, Joanne Kennedy, Mike Jones, Anne-Marie Huston, Michael Thompson, Jennifer Cunningham.


Standing from left: Michael Thompson, Ken Ward, Jim Hunter, Mike Jones, Mike Turner. Seated from left: Jim Nesbitt, Eileen Ward, Christine Turner, Sharon Harbinson, Nigel McIlwaine.