Bellaghy Historical Society – February 2004

The February meeting of the Bellaghy Historical Society was addressed by Father Arthur O’Reilly P.P. from Greenlough on “The Story of Lissan House”.

Father O’Reilly traced the history of the parish of Lissan from ancient times. Details of its influential and powerful chieftains can be found recorded in Annals from the time of St.Patrick and the speaker gave an absorbing account of the shifting of power and importance of the various families.

The area around Lissan belonged to the Mallons until the Plantation when Thomas Staples came and descendents of his family have inhabited the house ever since, the present occupant being Mrs Hazel Dolling, well known for her recent appearance on the Television Restoration Programme.

Father O’Reilly showed some beautiful slides of paintings by Sir Robert Ponsonby Staples, a renowned artist of his time, who died in 1934. Further slides revealed the attractive gardens which surrounded the old house, located the Foundry which the family had started many years ago and which is long since defunct and illustrated the architectural details of the house.

Thanking Father O’Reilly for the talk which had been greatly enjoyed by his large audience Mrs Breslin, Chairperson, reminded members of next month’s meeting when Mr Paul McCooey from the Ulster Museum will speak on the recently discovered ancient settlement at Toomebridge.

Father-O'ReillyFather O’Reilly guest speaker at the February meeting, of Bellaghy Historical Society.

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