Tag Archives: Harry Hume

Bellaghy Historical Society – October 2008

The first meeting of the 2008-2009 season was addressed by Mr. Harry Hume whose subject was “The Glens of Antrim – a Place  and People Apart.”     A Glensman himself from the tenth glen, Glenravel, Mr.Hume had an intimate knowledge of their history and the characters both past and present who inhabited them. He spoke of the Scottish influence because of their proximity to Kintyre and the Western Isles and traced the influence in the area of the McDonnells of the Isles from the marriage in 1399 of John Mor McDonnell of Kintyre to Margery Bissett right up to the present day.   He told of Sorley Boy’s victory over the McQuillans at the battle of Orra which gave the McDonnells possession of the Route and the three baronies of Dunluce, Carey and Kilconway and of his engagement with Shane O’neill in 1565.   Many famous people have come from the Glens and Mr. Hume named Dr. James McDonnell who founded the Belfast Fever Hospital (fore-runner  of the Royal Victoria Hospital) and whose great love of harp music led to his organizing the first Belfast Harp Festival. James Hamilton Delargy, the famous Irish folklorist also came from the Glens as did George Benn, (a son of the Benns of Glenravel), who wrote a History of Belfast and was benefactor of the once famous Benn Hospital, Belfast.  A Hodge of Glenravel was associated with the establishment of the Faculty of Agriculture at Queen’s University and Mr. Hume also dealt with the association of Roger Casement with the Glens. Reference was also made to the famous McNeill, Turnley and Higginson families with readings from the poems of Moira O’Neill ( born Agnes Shakespeare Higginson).   The talk also referred to the great seafaring tradition of many families of the area and ended with the portrayal of some interesting Glens “characters”, including the well known fiddler and poteen maker, the late Mickey McIlhatton, “KING OF THE GLENS”.   Mrs Mary Breslin, Chairperson,  thanking Mr. Hume for his fascinating talk and many amusing anecdotes which had been greatly appreciated by his large audience, reminded members that next month’s speaker would be Mr. Ronnie Hanna from Portadown, whose subject would be “Crossing the Atlantic – the Ulster Emigration Experience of the 18th Century”.