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
The May meeting of the Bellaghy Historical Society was addressed by Mr Cormac Bourke from The Ulster Museum. His subject was the fascinating one of the Book of Kells on which he is an authority.
He explained how the dating of the book at the year 800 could be reliably taken as accurate and stressed the co-operation which existed between the Irish scribes and those of the West of Scotland who were also Gaelic speaking.
Colourful slides of the illuminated manuscript whose meaning he described in detail brought the beauty and skilful artistry to life. Mr Bourke explained that the vellum on which it was written (and which had taken the hides of 180 calves to make) was virtually indestructible and so the book had survived extremely well.
The Chairperson, Mrs Mary Breslin, thanked Mr Bourke for his most interesting talk and reminded members of the outing to the Cultra Folk Museum on 12th June. As this was the final meeting for the season.
She also pointed out to members that further copies of the book Life in the Past had been printed and were available at Muldoons and Grahams super-markets and The Bawn in Bellaghy. They could also be bought at OBriens and Andrews shops and the Bridewell in Magherafelt and at Crawfords supermarket in Maghera.
The meeting started with a short A.G.M. when Office Bearers for the 2003- 2004 season were elected. They are as follows: Chairperson Mrs Mary Breslin, Hon Treasurer Mrs Pat Henry, Hon Secretary Mrs Patricia Lowry. Committee members are Mrs Margaret Evans, Mrs Ena Hammond, Mr Dermot Keenan, Mr Ossie Leslie, Mr Sam Overend and Mr Colm Scullion.
Mr Cormac Bourke, guest speaker at the May meeting of Bellaghy Historical Society