Bellaghy Historical Society – December 2002

There was a large attendance at the Christmas meeting of the Bellaghy Historical Society to hear Mr. Alec Blair, well known Historian and Broadcaster, talk about Customs and Traditions.

Pointing out that a Custom or Tradition was simply doing things as they had always been done, he emphasised how important it was not to let it all be forgotten. In a wide- ranging study, he talked of the old traditions at wakes, weddings and encounters with the wee folk. He explained that the custom of shooting at weddings, keening at wakes and funerals and the clapping of boards were all in an effort to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. Old beliefs in banshees, the evil eye and cures were recalled as was the old tradition of the Wren Boys and Mumming. Christmas was largely ignored until Victorian days when Christmas cards became fashionable and the Christmas tree was introduced.

Always lively, Mr. Blair’s talk was enhanced by his reading of poems relevant to the point he was making, most of which were very amusing, some poignant and sad. The evening was greatly enjoyed by all present.

Thanking him, the Chairperson, Mrs Mary Breslin, reminded readers of the book which the Society had just produced, entitled Life in the Past recollections of Bellaghy as it used to be, which will be on sale in H. H. Grahams, The Bawn and Costcutter (Mr. G.Muldoons), in Bellaghy. It could also be purchased at Ewings, Centra and Costcutter in Castledawson and at OBriens, Andrews and The Bridewell in Magherafelt.

Mr-Alex-BlairGuest speaker at the December meeting of the Bellaghy Historical Society was Historian and Broadcaster Mr Alec Blair Ballymoney who gave a talk about Customs and Traditions.


Speakers-at-the-February-meetingSome of the members of the Committee of the Bellaghy Historical Society with the Society’s first publication “Life in the Past” – recollections of Bellaghy as it used to be.

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