The February meeting of the Bellaghy Historical Society was addressed by Mr Robert Heslip from the Ulster Museum, Belfast, where he has been Curator for twenty five years. He is an acknowledged expert on coinage and entitled his talk “The History of Money in Ireland throughout the Ages”.
Mr. Heslip said that hoards of coins had been unearthed near Coleraine and near The Giant’s Causeway most of which had been identified as Viking or Roman coins. In later centuries different kings had their own marks impressed on the coins and it was King John who had brought in the groat which was worth 4d or pennies. The “d” was the symbol adopted for penny (before decimal coinage) and derived from the Latin word “denarius” for the Roman silver coin worth about 8d later translated in the New Testament as “penny”.
In Ireland coins were made in mints at Kilkenny, Dublin, Cork and Limerick and at Downpatrick and Carrickfergus in the North. Mr. Heslip illustrated his talk with many excellent slides pointing out the meaning and significance of the marks impressed on the coins.
Mrs Mary Breslin, Chairperson, thanked Mr Heslip for his most interesting lecture and reminded members of next month’s meeting when Mr. Kevin Johnston of Moneymore will speak on “The Secret History of Moneymore”.
Mr Robert Heslip from the Ulster Museum, Belfast was the guest speaker at the February meeting.
Chairperson Mrs Mary Breslin
Hon Treasurer Mrs Pat Henry
Hon Secretary Mrs Patricia Lowry
Mrs Margaret Evans
Mrs Ena Hammond
Mr Dermot Keenan
Mr Ossie Leslie
Mr Sam Overend
Mr Seamus McErlean