Bellaghy Historical Society – April 2002

The members of the Bellaghy Historical Society enjoyed a very pleasant and informative evening at their April meeting, when several members spoke on various aspects of Life and Employment in Bellaghy in times past.

Dermot Keenan spoke about the Road Construction Industry, Pat Henry gave the history of St.Marys Church and Patricia Lowry that of the Bellaghy Church of Ireland. Ena Hammond gave the history of the Presbyterian Church in Bellaghy and also that of the Spade Mill at Edenreagh which had belonged to her ancestors.

This was followed by an account of Education in Bellaghy and the Schools in the past given by Margaret Evans. The final paper was given by Patricia Lowry on Employment for Women in Bellaghy in the last century.

At the opening of the meeting, the Chairperson, Mrs Mary Breslin expressed the sorrow felt by members on the death of Miss Ann Heaney who had been a very faithful member from the start of the Society.

She pointed out that Mr Matt Bruces book “Eighty Years Young” has just been launched was available for sale at the meeting. (see “Eighty Years Young”)

The speaker at the next meeting, on the 14th May, will be Mr S.Toner and the subject will be “Bellaghy, Ancient and Modern”. This will also be the A.G.M. A trip to the Ulster American Folk Park in June was also proposed if enough interest was shown.

Eighty Years Young

Eighty years young Bellaghy man Matt Bruce has just launched a book which details his recollections , from his childhood memories until the present day. Entitled “Eighty Years Young” this 90 page book is packed with snippets of information about life in and around the Bellaghy area over the past 80 or so years.

At his home in Drumlamph Matt said “I have always been a history enthusiast, and in this book I have tried to show how I saw life in the 20th century. He added “I have kept every subject to a minimum because modern readers do not like excessive detail.”

Matt has touched on a wide range of items such as Bellaghy Fair, Edenreagh Spade Mill, Local personalities, Social activities, Places of local interest and much more, including a brief history of the 20th Century. Also included is a list of businesses and trades in Bellaghy in the 1930s and a number of photographs of Bellaghy, Castledawson.

As local writer John Hughes says in the Foreword, “Matt is due a vote of thanks, for his efforts in recording and thus preserving another instalment of our local folklore”.


“Eighty Years Young” is currently on sale in Grahams Bellaghy; Crawfords, Maghera; Crossroads, knockloughrim; Diamonds Shop, Drumard; Angelas Shop, Maghera and Ewings Castledawson. Price £4 and proceeds are in aid of Cancer Care.

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