Monthly Archives: January 2015

Bellaghy Historical Society – October 2014

A.G.M and

The Chairman, Seamus McErlean, welcomed members to the first meeting of the new
season, and to the A.G.M. The Treasurer reported on the financial position of the Society,
The Chairman drew membersʼ attention to the Societyʼs website (which is almost ready) address and
new e-mail address.
He then introduced the speaker, Jim Winters and asked him to preside over the election of
Chairman, Seamus McErlean, proposed by Mary Breslin, seconded by Patricia Lowry.
Vice-Chairman, Pat Brenann, proposed by Seamus McErlean, seconded by Eamon
Secretary, Ciara Nic Gabhann, proposed by George McIntyre, seconded by Eamon
Treasurer, Patricia Henry, proposed by Isobel Beattie, Seconded by George McIntyre.
Committee, patricia Lowry, Mary Breslin, Sam Overend, Dermot Keenan, Ena hammond,
margaret Evans, george McIntyre, Philomena Scullion, Peter McKenna-re-elected en-bloc,
proposed by Tony McGurk and seconded by Kathleen Kearney.
There followed an interesting talk by Jim Winters on the history of the Rainey Endowed
School, Magherafelt-Hugh Rainey wrote his will 1707 (and died shortly afterwards), in
which he stipulated the ethos of the school to be set up for poor Presbyterian boys (8 new
students to be admitted each year), where each graduating boy would be given 50
shillings and a new suit. He even stipulated the layout and furnishings for the kitchen and
bedrooms; what was to be spent on meat, clothes, apprentice fees; profile of teachers, etc.
By 1758, the money had run out. The school closed for a few years for “renovations” as
disagreements between the (C. of I) Archbishop of Armagh and William Ashe Rainey over
the governance of the school were insolvable.
Over the 100 years, the Raineys sold off various lots of land and property to settle debts.
1849, the school came under the control of the Rector of Magherafelt, the Rev. Charles
King Irvine. The Salters of London gave assistance in exchange for property and land.
1886, the Salters its interest in Derry except for its connection with the Rainey-it continued
to give £66 each year. This connection continues to this day: The Salters Cup is awarded
each year; the head boy and head girl and headmaster attend the Salters A.G.M. in
London each year.
Having survived the Williamite Wars, the Famine, Home Rule, Partition, World Wars 1 & 2
and the Troubles, there are now 725 boys and girls attending the Rainey Endowed

Bellaghy Historical Society – May 2014

TUESDAY 13th, MAY 2014
Real name, William James McBride (he has a brother John), born 1940, the second youngest of five on
a farm in Moneyglass. His father died in 1944. The family kept the farm.
He helped milk the cows before school, walked three miles to school at Dineen. Children of all religions attended that school. The clergymen of the different churches visited the school.
He recalled some boring jobs like pumping water from the long-armed pump in the yard.
He remembered the hayricks in the fields; haymaking; work horses – there were no tractors.
He helped sow flax (lint), look after it, pull thistles – there were no sprays then; pull (not cut) the flax, put it in the dam with stones on it, filled it with water – how it stank! They would then lift the stones, lift the flax and spread it on the field the same day – as it dried on one side, it was turned with sticks; it was then taken to the mills where it was spun/carded into linen.
Farming then was very labour intensive.
It would take two horses and plough two weeks to work a 6 acre field!
Lunch was bread and a pint of buttermilk.
The scythe was used to reap the corn; a stoop of corn was made of 4 sheaths.
If work had to be done on Sunday, cutting corn, feeding hens, milking cows, it was done after midnight, so as to observe the Sabbath!
Potatoes were gathered with the help of Tony Mc Coyʼs father! They were taken out of school for this job – a job which Willie hated! The neighbours were good to each other-helping to gather the potatoes, thrash the corn…
Fr. Mullen gave great advice and help.
All farmers killed their own pigs – the pig man came to do it. His mother would give the livers to the neighbours.
A lorry would collect eggs – the egg-man would give groceries as payment.
The fish-man from Toome would call.
Tillage payment was made to the RIC.
During winter, they would sit around the fire. They never had much money but always had good food.
1950s saw big changes as the family bought a tractor and a car.
Once a year, he would go to Portrush with half a crown in his pocket.
Sport didnʼt feature in his earlier years and there was no sport in his family. His first sport was pole-vaulting. He taught himself using the roost in the hen house and bags of sand! He won medals at Ulster Schools level -clearing 9ʻ9ʼʼ in his second year in competition. He travelled to the finals by train from Ballymena to Belfast, then trolley bus to City Hall and another to Cherryvale Grounds – with his own 12ft long pole!
At 18 years of age, he played rugby in his last year at school. He then applied for a job at the bank.
He played a few games for Randalstown – he would cycle there. They had to lift cowpats & sheeps droppings from the field (given to the club by Lord OʼNeill) before each game – except when playing a  Belfast side!
He played with Ballymena all his sporting life. The changing rooms (Nissan huts) had showers but if they were frozen, they would wash in the Braid river!
One of the older Ballymena members told him how to cope with disappointment, how to be successful,…
Farming stood to him – it gave him physical and mental strength. He never wanted to be second best, but the best. When he was with the Ulster team, he wanted to go for the Irish trials & the Irish team; when he achieved that, he wanted to be on the Lions team – he was in South Africa for 4 months, 1962.
His mother attended one game; his brothers, farmers, attended 2/3 games.
Travel and rugby broadened his mind and he learned a lot about life and how to get the best out of people -and he brought that to banking.
1971 – he transferred (bank) from Coleraine to Belfast.
He has lived in Ballyclare for 40 years. He loves to keep busy – he keeps chickens and gardens three acres there. He is often asked to travel /cruise all over the world with sporting groups; and is often asked to speak at functions.

Bellaghy Historical Society – January 2014

This was a particularly interesting talk on the origin of place-names, with special
references to local-place names. Dr. Toner of Queenʼs University, Belfast, gave an indepth
analysis of local place-names.
He published a book as part of the Place-Names of Northern Ireland Project, 1996-Volume
V, County Derry 1: The Moyola Valley.
Generally, places are named according to their position within the landscape/local
topography; after family names; in Gaelic and with Anglicised versions.
Dr. Toner started with the Baroney of Loughinsholin; parishes within that Baroney and then
towns, villages, townlands, fields, etc.
There was an input from the audience in regard to very local place-names.

Bellaghy Historical Society February 2014

born 926, Dal Glas, Brian Boru became King of Munster and High King of Ireland.
died 1014, at Battle of Clontarf (as did his son, Murchadh). He had been reading the
psalms in his tent when the viking, Brudair, entered it. Both men died.
buried at Protestant Cathedral, Armagh (under the pulpit, according to legend).
Boru is not a surname (til the 11th century), but means cattle tribute (wealth tax). There is
a place called Boru in Co. Clare, on the banks of the Shannon.
Brian Boru was a tax collector-of all the little kindoms in Ireland under his control
(peacefully). His father was over lord of Dal Glas.
He captured, peacefully, Limerick from the Vikings.
He designated the protestant Cathedral, Armagh the principal church of Ireland (Put 20
ounces of gold in the altar), when he was welcomed to that city. (He henceforth expressed
the wish to be buried there.)
1002 and 1005, Brian Boru made circuits of Ulster, collecting tributes. He sent young men
to Europe to return with ideas and books.
The poet had status in society because of his close connection with the over lord.

Bellaghy Historical Society – March 2014

The History of the Post Office
Speaker: John Stuart
11th March 2014

At the March meeting of the Bellaghy Historical Society, members received an interesting lecture from John Stuart (retired Teacher from Ballymena) on the history of the Post Office.

John expressed a regret shared by many in the audience, that in an age of increased electronic communications, fewer people now communicate by letter and therefore, the activity with which the Post Office has been traditionally associated has declined. In 1947/48, the Post Office handled ten billion letters while today that figure has reduced to around one billion, even the holiday postcards and Christmas cards have reduced in number.

Only recently the Post Office has been privatised with share prices set by the Government and John speculated on what privatisation will mean for the delivery of mail, particularly postage costs and deliveries in rural areas. Ironically, it was a former Conservative leader, much in favour of privatisation, who had stopped short of privatising the Post Office on the basis that ‘we don’t privatise the Queen’.

Over the years, services have changed. In the 1960s the second delivery ceased, Post Offices began to close or move into local shops. Post Offices began to deal with car tax and passport applications. John noted that the Post Office in Ballymena had closed on Saturday 5th March past and was now located in the Spar Supermarket.

Thanks to internet shopping, parcel post is now increasing but the Post Office no longer has the monopoly on deliveries as other providers move into this market. The Post Office still has some influence here however, as many companies will charge extra for deliveries to Northern Ireland or do not deliver at all.

The business of delivering mail is and will continue to be a labour intensive job however, the move towards privatisation is likely to result in a reduction in staff. There are now approximately forty thousand employees at Royal Mail while at its peak the company employed a quarter of a million staff.

In terms of exercise, it is estimated that in urban areas, some postmen and women may walk up to 8 miles per day delivering our mail. In rural areas the red mail van is a feature of daily life.

The Royal Mail service was introduced by Charles II in 1641. Prior to this there were some small companies operating in London and between cities. These were not very secure.

In 1841, the ‘Penny Black’ was introduced to help bring some uniformity to a system that previously had been operated by different companies, all charging different rates.

The familiar red post box became a feature on many streets in early Victorian times. Some can still be seen in the south of Ireland with the distinctive lettering VR (Dublin and Kildare), GvR and EviiR although these are now painted green.

In 1784, the first Royal Mail coach service was established and ran between Bristol, Bath and London.

In 1786, it took twenty sets of horses to bring the mail between London and Edinburgh and took sixty hours. The London to Glasgow coach service began in 1788 and took seventy hours. The last horse drawn mail coach between London and Norwich ran in 1846.

Up until the 1950s, horses were still used in London and in small towns and villages where trains could not reach. Horse drawn mail carriages were operating in Belfast until 1963.

Two Steamers were introduced in 1821 and operated between Holyhead and Dublin.

Mail began to be delivered by train in 1831 (Manchester)

Between 1831 and 2001, the bulk movement of mail in UK was by train. Road and air services now account for the vast majority of mail transport. The use of trains as the primary source of transporting mail in Northern Ireland ended in late 1980s.

Mail transport between Newtownards and Comber ceased to be taken by train in 1853 as road transport was cheaper.

The first electric vehicle operated from London Paddington in 1897 and the first internal combustion lorry began service in 1907 and operated for 30 years.

Mail was also carried by sea and both the Titanic (1912) and Lusitania (1916) were part of the Royal Mail Service (RMS).

In 1950 this Britain / USA mail route was switched to air although the first transatlantic flight (1919) did carry some mail. When Concorde took over this service the flight time was by then reduced to 2 hours.

In 1927 a fully automatic (driverless) underground train (2 feet gauge) began from Paddington to Whitechapel and is still operational.

One of the most famous incidents involving the Royal Mail took place on 8th August 1963 in what became known as ‘The Great Train Robbery’. Thieves took £2.6 million gold bullion from the Glasgow to London post train. This equates to approximately £50 million today. Only £100,000 from the original theft was recovered.

In Scotland and Wales Post Buses carried mail and passengers. A few small services still operate.

Philately, the hobby of stamp collecting, can be an interesting and expensive activity. There are no philatelist shops in Northern Ireland but there is one in Dublin.

Stamps often reflect historical, political and cultural events e.g. in 1966, Britain produced stamps to commemorate the Battle of Hastings (1066) and England winning the World Cup. These commemorative stamps cost 3d but would now, at auction, achieve a price well above the rate of inflation.

The production of stamps, in particular the event or message depicted can be highly political e.g. there were attempts in the 1960s to remove the Queen’s head from postage stamps however, this was defeated by the Westminster parliament.

Security is an issue although during WWI and WWII, the mail, for the most part did manage to get through and troops were well catered for. During our own ‘Troubles’ there was some disruption to services on occasions and some postal workers were murdered. There were the threats of letter bombs and to prevent the postage of such items, the slot on post boxes in many areas was restricted so as to prevent items of a certain bulk from being posted.

Privatisation is likely to lead to further changes. Saturday deliveries may end and people living in more remote or hard to get at areas may be expected to collect their mail from a central location perhaps even an end of lane box. There may even be an end to daily deliveries.

The delivery of parcels is likely to increase (internet shopping), Christmas cards will decline and so too (let’s hope) will be the volume of junk mail.

Mechanisation has probably gone as far as it can and electronic communications has taken over banking and payment of bills.

The introduction of postcodes helped in the location of the intended recipient of the letter but our system of letters and numbers is not best suited to technology. In Australia, postcodes use numbers only.

In the past the Post Office also controlled broadcasting and the birth of pirate radio and radio Luxemburg presented a particular challenge to the Post Office at the time. The Post Office no longer controls broadcasting.

First and second class mail was introduced in 1965.

In the late 1970s the Sunday collection ended.

Telegraphs ended in 1972 except for international telegraphs.

Bellaghy Post Office

The following information about Bellaghy Post office has been collated by Mrs Lowry from the Belfast and Province Directory:

  1. Alicia Steele, Post Mistress. Letters from Dublin and all of the South and England arrive every forenoon at 11.30 and are despatched every morning at 8.30. Letters from Londonderry, Belfast etc arrive every morning at 8.30 and are despatched every forenoon at 11.30 o’clock
  2. Alicia Steele, Post Mistress. Mails arrive every forenoon at 11.30 and are despatched every afternoon at 1.30
  1. The same except for afternoon despatch which is given as 1.58
  1. Lists no details of Bellaghy PO but states Mail Car to Magherafelt from Castledawson PO at 8.30 am
  1. Post Office – Telegraph, Money Order Office and Savings Bank. Mrs McErlean, Post Mistress. Mails arrive and are dispatched twice daily. (Note change of spelling of dispatch!) That could still be by horse – first car in Bellaghy 1912
  1. The same as above (1909)
  1. Ditto
  1. As above except J.J. McErlane (sic) is given as sub-post master.
  1. Same as 1930 but adds Mails arrive and are despatched (sic) twice daily with the addition now of Telephone Exchange.
  1. Postmaster J.J. McErlane, grocer and hardware merchant
  1. Exactly same as 1937
  1. Entry simply says J.J. McErlane, Postmaster and Grocer
  1. J.J. McErlane, sub postmaster. Arrival and despatch of mails twice daily
  1. The same but Mrs M.M McErlane given as postmistress

1953-1969 same as above but giving no further details about post arrivals

1971-1986. Mrs B.J. Madden, Postmistress

1992-1996 simply gives address as 11 Main Street

Today the village post office is located in the Spar Shop (H.H Graham & Son) just across the street from its original location.

Some gaps exist in our information and readers might help us with answers to some of the following questions:

  • When did the original post office cease to operate as a shop?
  • When and how did mail arrive?
  • When were family allowances paid out?


Any other information about our local post office and services would be welcome.


Bellaghy Historical Society – May 2013

MAY, Tuesday 14th, 2013.
Brian Cassell-Canals of Ulster
B. Cassell is of Craigavon Historical Society and is chairman of Inland Waterways of
1742-Newry Canal, first canal of Europe; revamped 1801.
Lagan Canal: L.Neagh to Belfast.
Newry Canal: L. Neagh to Newry.
Ulster Canal: L.Neagh to L.Erne.
Coalisland Canal: Blackwater to Coalisland.
Strabane Canal: Foyle to Strabane.
Today, Lower Bann & Erne only canals open in Ulster.
B. Cassell showed plenty of photographs of the canal system, locks, bridges,tow
paths,lock-keepers, their houses, bothies. He spoke of records that were kept of the
barges & their cargo that used the canals.

Bellaghy Historical Society – April 2013

APRIL, Tuesday 9th, 2013.
George McIntyre: Local Photographs
A member of our society, George showed old and new photographs of the Castledawson/
Moneyglass, depicting many landmarks and characters.
Another member, Mary Breslin, brought a set of old, local photographs, showing Ossie
Leslie cutting wheat, the Stairhead, Bellaghy, cottages on Ballyscullion Rd.
Many photographs featured local train stations, factories, bridges, schools and other
landmarks no longer visible.

Bellaghy Historical Society – March 2013

March, Tuesday 12th, 2013
Clive Scoular: The Dublin Lockout of 1913.

Larkin & Connolly.
Larkin-born 1879, Liverpool, to Armagh parents. Apprentice in fatherʼs firm. 1890s-became
ill, off work for ages & listened to socialst meetings; back at work as casual docker, earning
very little.
1893, stowaway to Soviet Union; when returned to England, joined Independent Labour
party; became foreman dock porter-had ambition.
1900-earned £3, 10 schillings/week.
1903-married; became an orator-spoke at open air meetings in Liverpool parks; joined
national Union of Dock Labourers. (unions a new phenomenon); became itʼs General
Organiser at age 23/4. He re-organised ports in England/Scotland/Ireland.
Arrived in Belfast & called for strike because of terrible pay & conditions.
1911-1914: he had people of Dublin on strike all the time; trade unionists then were very
powerful people.
1912-several trade unionists, but not Larkin as was a convicted felon, were elected to
Dublin corporation. His sister, Delia, set up first ever womenʼs workers union.
1913-widespread strikes- 30 strikes in Dublin, Jan-August.
Tramway men, Dublin, leader-William Martin Murphy, not allowed to join union, employers
locked out 25 workers.
Larkin -dressed as woman by Constance Markievc, sneaked to hotel (now Clearyʼs store),
addressed crowd from upstairs window-arrested.
relief gathered, sent to Dublin. Constance set up soup kitchen at Liberty Hall, 1913.
Strike a failure-back to work for less money.
Nov. 1913-Citizen Army formed to protect people from police.
Larkin, the “Chief”, disliked by hierarchy.
1914-war, Larkin against it. Went to US for 8 years, to gat funds for Ireland; didnʼt
understant easter Rising.
1917-arrested as pro German when US joined war.
1919-arrested again as “criminal anarchist” & “dangerous agitator”. Defends himself in
court. Convicted 5-10 years. Pardoned by New York Governor after 2 years.
1923-returned to Dublin & welcomed.
Foran & OʼBrien had increased membership of unions by thousands.
1924-in Russia; named a communist. returned to Dublin, set up “Workers Union of
1947-Larkin died. His sons carried on.
Connolly-born Edinburgh, son of “night soiler” from Monaghan.
Joined British army at 14; married; listened to socialist views of K.Hardy.
Set up Scotish Socialist Federation; gat job in Dublin, £1/week.
Set up irish Socialist Republican Party. Was a political thinker; believed in an independent
republic & in socoalism; friendly with Maud Gonne & C. Markievc; writer in his own papers;
invited to give lecture tour in US.
1903-returned to US for 7 years-promoting socialism & help for Ireland.
1910-back to Derry; published “Labour in Irish History”; established reputation as a
socialist thinker.
1913-went to Belfast-there were anti home rule pogroms; because of attitude of Carson &
Craig, Connolly didnʼt make much progress.
Connolly often helped Larkin out of trouble! He returned to Dublin & was also in jail at
Opposed to partition, Connolly was a militant; edited ʻIrish Worker”; erected banner on
Loberty Hall-”we serve neither king nor kaiser, but Ireland”.
P.Pearse decided Connolly would be a signatory on 1916 proclamation

Bellaghy Historical Society – February 2013

Bellaghy Historical Society
Tuesday 12th February 2013

A Journey around and about the Antrim Coast as seen from old postcards of the early 20th Century

Kevin O’Hagan

 Kevin O’Hagan began by giving members a brief history of the postcard which can be traced back to 1869 and was introduced by the Austrian Postal Authority. The following year, the British introduced a plain card with a pre-printed ½ penny stamp. Customers wrote their message on one side and the address on the other.

In 1894, the first picture postcards appeared in Britain. The message was written on the picture side, the address on the reverse. In 1902, cards in Britain had a ‘divided back’ i.e. the message and address was written on one side of the card.

From this time, there was a ‘worldwide explosion’ in the production of postcards. There were photographs from every town and village, topographical features (street scenes, beaches and mountains) and feats of engineering (ships, churches, bridges and other structures), all of which were reproduced as postcards. One of the foremost photography companies at the turn of the 20th century was Hind, Ballantine and Lawrence, based in Dublin. Much of their work still remains and provides an opportunity for the enthusiast to take new photographs and compare the changes that have occurred in the intervening period in fashions, transport, architecture and landscape.

Kevin explained that trying to date the postcard using the postage stamp was not always reliable i.e. dates were not available and the reign of British Monarchs would be over a period of time e.g. Edward VII (1901-10), George V (1910-36) and George VI (1936-52). Other information available from the card (picture) may be used to provide an approximate date e.g. a vehicle or as in one card which Kevin presented, a billboard describing an incident that had recently occurred.

Messages from the sender were often simple references to the weather and informing the receiver that everyone was having a ‘nice time’.

The use of postcards as a means of communication is now threatened by the proliferation of e-mail and the vagaries of the postal service; holiday makers are now back home with their album of photographs captured on the latest mobile phone devise, days or weeks before postcards arrive.

Kevin then took members on a colourful and informative tour of the Antrim Coast from Belfast Lough to Portrush.

Cards showed the following:

The Bangor Paddle Steamer in Belfast Lough in 1906

The Belfast / Liverpool (Ulster Prince) Express Service built by Harland and Wolff in 1933

Carrickfergus Castle, built by John De Courcy in 1177 and the site where William of Orange landed before travelling to the Boyne.

Modern photographs were compared with the Black Head Path (1929), this is now an area where people are encouraged to ‘walk for health’.

The Temperance Hotel (1910) / Sunshine House (1919) owned by John Wylie still remains as a desirable residence.

The Gobbens Path that included a metal bridge was built by the Belfast and Northern Counties Railways Committee. The bridge has become victim to the ravages of time and exposure to sea water and had fallen into a state of neglect however, there are plans to restore it.

The Suspension Bridge at Whitehead

Browns Bay Island Magee

Glencoe, Glenarm, a scenic, peaceful village circa 1906 showing blacksmith Ephraim McDowell (1884 – )

Glynn showing thatched cottages, spinning wheel, horse and cart. This village was the scene for the making of the first ‘talking picture’ in Ireland entitled ‘The Luck of the Irish’

Larne Station 1904 and the ‘Gentleman’s’ Bathing Place at Larne

The Blackcave Tunnel

A postcard of Glenarm Castle (seat of the MacDonnells of Antrim) had a message on the picture side and address on the reverse.

Straidkilly, the slipping village. A photograph taken in 2010 showed the extent to which ‘landslides’ had transformed the environment around the village which is built on Lias clay. Houses have moved and the road more twisted.

Carnlough, the most frequented tourist place in the early 20th Century apart from Portrush. There were cards showing the Londonderry Arms Hotel with its hot and cold sea water baths. There was a postcard showing Larne entrepreneur Henry McNeill who operated a charabanc (open air stage coach) service along the coast. Another card shows wooden sailing ships in Carnlough harbour. A newspaper advertising board shows the headline of a Scottish Paper announcing ‘100 people injured in London Explosion’ which might refer to an incident circa 1949/50. Another headline states ‘Grave Far East Warning’ which may be forewarning of the Korean War (1953).

There are cards showing both the Catholic Church (Saint John’s) in Carnlough (1955) and the Church of Ireland. The roads are paved and there is evidence of the limestone quarries and the rail link from the quarries to the harbour. A prominent feature is the town clock (on the railway bridge) erected by the Londonderry Family.

A card showing the Marine / Bay Road has a tarmac surface but no central white line and a vehicle is shown travelling along the centre of the road. The type of vehicle would suggest circa 1950s.

There were scenic views of Doonan Waterfall (now heavily overgrown and difficult to see from the road), Cranny Waterfall (1934) and Drumnasole Waterfall.

Garrontower (1910) was the home of Lady Londonderry. Building began in 1848 and the house was occupied from 1850. Cards show its decorative interiors and in the grounds are eight naval cannons (from the Peninsular and Napoleonic Wars; these were later sold). The building was subsequently given to the Catholic Church for use as a school (St MacNissi’s College, later called St Killian’s College).

Glenariff Glen known as the ‘Queen of the Glens’ had a private single gauge railway. This was the first in Ireland and did not require parliamentary approval for its construction. A postcard sent by the Rev George Hill (1810-1900) who was the author of ‘A Historical Account of the MacDonnells of Antrim’ shows his house (in England) called ‘Glenariff’. Mining companies built railways along with paths and shelters for use by tourists. Fog House in Glenariff was one such structure.

Other cards, taking us on an excursion around the rest of the coastline included:

  • Parkmore Post Office was later converted into a private house.
  • Tea House (now Lara Lodge)
  • Red Arch – Waterfoot and Cushendall
  • Red Bay Castle
  • Cushendall – Legge House – headquarters of Cushendall Golf Club
  • Cushendun – a painting by Maurice Canning Wilks (1911 – 1984)
  • Viaduct near Ballycastle built by the famous architect Charles Lanyon (1839)
  • Fairhead – Marconi’s Cottage
  • Marine Hotel (1969) that was later destroyed in the ‘Troubles’
  • The Diamond and Ann Street (Ballycastle) and the Lammas Fair held annually in August
  • Boat Slip – Rathlin Island boats
  • Kenbane Head and Rathlin Island
  • Kenbane Fishery
  • Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge
  • Ballintoy Harbour
  • Pleaskin Head near the Giant’s Causeway
  • Port Noffer also near the Causeway
  • Giant’s Causeway
  • Dunluce Castle (postcard from 1907), the castle was built in the early 1600’s and later the kitchen fell into the sea with the loss of life of some staff employed there.
  • The Dunluce Tram (postcard from 1953). The tramline was built by Earl Spenser in 1883 and was hydro-powered. In 1887, the tram went all the way to the Causeway
  • Seagull Island
  • The Ladies Bathing Place Portrush
  • The Arcadia Portrush circa 1928 that later became a ballroom (1960’s)
  • Portrush Harbour and Railway Station and the end of the journey around the Antrim Coast.

Bellaghy Historical Society – January 2013

January, Tuesday 8th, 2013
Johnny Dooher, Ordinance Survey Memoirs
J.Dooher has carried out research on thr O.S. at Queenʼs University, Belfast-part of which
studies included the creation of curriculum material for schools. The schools pack was
published after 1991.
He is past chairman of Federation of Ulster Local Studies; is now editor of Due North.
The O.S. scheme began 1824. Information other than that used on maps was also
1800 Act of Union had abolished parliament-very little knowledge in London of fural
Information on extent of poverty/beggars was taken from travellers who published travel
“Travel Accounts as Source Material for Irish Historians”, C.J.Woods, pub.2010.
1843-W. Thackery:Irish Sketch Book-related much beggary.
O.S. memoirs published as accompanying material of maps-”backward/poor/uncivilised
country people”.
This information was collected mostly form Ulster as O.S. confined mostly to Ulster, first
collected by Royal Engineers; then separate department set up to publish memoirs of
parish/county boundaries. Those of Antrim, Derry, Fermanagh most comprehensive.
No more research after 1839 as was very costly.
1839, scheme stopped. Government aware of danger of creating awareness to the people
of loss of tribes/land, etc.
Memoirs lay in Dublin Castle til 1950s.
QUB, 1980s, tried to publish as many volumes as possible; 1990s, scheme stopped as
was too costly.
Memoirs of Ballscullion were written by James Boyle-which gave structure of Ballyscullionnatural
features; modern & ancient topography; social economy; appendices-facts/
statistics such as dispensary, etc.
There were no townland/placeneame studies here-John Donovan mustnʼt have come this
Bellaghy town, memoirs gave details of occupations: 16 grocers; 6 grocer/publicans; 7
publicans; 1 draper;19 farmers; 26 labourers; 11 linen spinners; 11 weavers; 3 butchers; 4
blacksmiths; 4 policemen; 2 bakers; carpenters & tailors = 152.
Map of 1830s shows village & crossroads.
1841 Ballyscullion census-5,500-6,000 people in the parish.
Significance of the memoirs-indepth surveys of parishes which gave a comprehensive
picture of pre-famine Ulster-contemporary oral accounts & comments of writers.
However-who were the writers & whose views were recorded?
All memoirs were in favour of property owners; biases of religion/law & order; racial
stereotyping; demise of native Irish as aboriginals.
Writers were English army officers writing from the view point of what was the norm fir
them-their description of native Irish as people of poor/low morals; pigs lived with the
William Carlton gave a more balanced view- “Traits and Stories of Irish Peasantry”-as he
lived among them.
1841 census: recorded housing standards-class 1; 2; 3- 2/3 rooms, farmers thatched,
stone dwelling with very poor furnishing; 4- single room, thatched, stone or mud dwelling;-
Ballyscullion had 45% houses under class 3; 35% under class 4.
Same census recorded class 4 housing in Donegal as 47%; Derry as 40.5%; Down as
24%; Antrim as 33%.
Jonathon Burns, officially appointed as investigator of “Poor Inquiry”-published “Miseries
and Beauties of Ireland”. Most towns had “beggar day” or market day-Magherafelt on
Wednesdays; draperstown also had one. There was no official provision for the old/poor/
orphans-they all relied on charity.
J. Dooher then gave details of the myriad of schools in the Bellaghy the auspices of many
different churches.
Punishment for crime: stealing bull-death; larceny, stealing of pig-transported for 7 years;
forged notes-transported for 14 years.
Report on irish Poor Law 1838, George Nicholls- Irish to blame for poverty as they have
no ambition.
1833-Irish Poor Inquiry; 1838-itʼs report published; labourers-lived in hovels and had only
one meal a day-they were in distress 30 weeks a year.
Devon Commission 1844-all classes poorer; linen trade failure; increase in population;
sub-division of farms.