The first day after the summer solstice presented fine weather for our small but enthusiastic group which set off on the outing under the sure guidance of Maurice, our Causeway Coach driver. Right on schedule, we arrived at the Mossley Mill complex to be met by our guide, Lara, and fortified by mid-morning hot drink and scone,were ready to begin the tour. This included a comprehensive exhibition area covering the history of the mill from the mid 18th century up to its closure in 1995. For most of this period the mill expanded under the direction of the Campbell familywho appeared to be benevolent employers, providing reasonable working conditions, tied housing and leisure facilities for the employees. Our group was also given access to the well-appointed Council Chamber for the Newtownabbey & Antrim Borough Council.
Following the tour, all were ready for the adequate lunch provided by the in-house restaurant, which set us up for the second venue on the programme, Sentry Hill, at nearby Carnmoney. Here our group was divided into 2 sections, each with a guide, to be taken on a room by room tour of the 19th century farmhouse, much of it unchanged since the last occupants were in residence during the mid 20th century. The principal character, William McKinney (1832-1917), was mainly responsible for the wealth of photographs, paintings and artifacts on display throughout the house. A further bonus to the visit was a stroll round the beautifully kept garden in pleasant June sunshine – a fitting conclusion to a most enjoyable day.
For further reading on Sentry Hill see “Sentry Hill, an Ulster Farm and Family” by Brian M. Walker (Friar’s Bush Press), 1981.
Our AGM and Dinner, held on 19 March 2019 in the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine, was well attended by members and guests.
Our Chairman, Geoff Warke, gave a review of the year and included a tribute to our late Chairman, Robert Anderson. After the elections to committee (see About Us page 3) an excellent meal was followed by a quiz, which had been compiled by Robert. This was conducted by guests John and Dorothy Moore. The winning table was the U3A Nordic Walkers plus 2 – Barbara Harding, Chris and Diana Kirkpatrick, Michael Thompson, Eileen and Ken Ward.
The newly refurbished Coleraine Library was officially opened on Thursday 7 February 2019 by H.R.H. Princess Anne. Members of the Historical Society were invited to be in attendance in the newly formed Heritage Room which contains Local History and Family History material.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tea/ coffee and biscuits in the dining room of Ashbrook House.
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.
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.
From left: Betty Bones, Diana Kirkpatrick, Billy Bones (President of BRC), Ronnie Gamble and Isobel Gamble.
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.