As Randalstown Historical Society can’t hold its AGM as it normally would in the month of January, members should be receiving the material through the post that would otherwise make up the business of such a meeting. The officers and committee have agreed to remain in post until January 2022, subject to members’ approval. The Chairperson’s Report and the annual accounts have also been circulated for approval. Members are encouraged to respond to the proposals so that the committee can feel confident of their support.
Plans to resume our programme of meetings continue in abeyance while we wait in hope of seeing an easing in the pandemic and a subsequent lifting of the various restrictions currently in force.
Members of Randalstown Historical Society will be greatly saddened to learn of the death of one of our founding members, Lady Moyra Campbell. Lady Moyra was a faithful attender at our meetings together with her husband Peter until failing health confined her to her home and eventually led to her admission to the Somme Nursing Home in Belfast. She was a great supporter of the society and always had questions or comments to make on the talks given at our meetings.
In 2012, in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Lady Moyra kindly allowed the society to exhibit the dress, designed by Norman Hartnell, which she had worn when she was a Maid of Honour at the coronation. The exhibition raised money for some of Lady Moyra’s favourite charities in Ireland, the NSPCC/ISPCC, the NI Cancer Fund for Children and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin in Dublin.
The society sends its sincere condolences to her husband, Peter, sons Rory and Michael, and all the family circle.
By now Randalstown Historical Society’s programme for meetings for the coming season would normally have been circulated and we would be looking forward to our first gathering. This year is different.
The committee has had a brief discussion by email and we have agreed that there will certainly be no meetings held for the remainder of 2020. We will keep our eye on the situation and try and take a view towards the end of the year on whether we can plan for some meetings in 2021. It will all depend on whether the regulations regarding COVID-19 ease to the extent that make our gatherings in ARCHES Hall seem practicable and, above all, safe.
I’ll post news of any further developments when that’s available. In the meantime I hope all members continue to stay safe and well.
Randalstown Historical Society has been very saddened to learn of the death of past Chairman, Brian Mawhinney on Tuesday 7 April.
Although Brian was best known for his involvement in scouting he was for many years a leading member of the Historical Society. He succeeded Christine Doherty, the founding Chair, in 1995 and held the position until 1997. He served a further term as Chair from 2001 to January 2004 and was always a source of wise counsel. He and his wife Betty continued as active members as long as their health permitted.
Brian had been in failing health for the last few years and had become increasingly frail. He died peacefully at home having been recently discharged from hospital.
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Randalstown Historical Society’s next meeting takes place on Thursday 7 November at 8.00 pm in Arches Community Hall. Sebastian Graham will be speaking on Mills Around Randalstown: Water Power to Steam Power. Existing and new members all welcome.
The 2019-20 season marks the 25th anniversary of Randalstown Historical Society and will kick off with a celebratory event to be held at the Station House at Shanes Castle on Saturday 14 September from 1.00pm. A buffet lunch will be followed by a talk by Rev Canon Derek Kerr on the theme of “Royal Bits and Pieces”. Admission is £10 and anyone wishing to attend should contact Linda Houston (028 9447 2874) as soon as possible and certainly no later than Friday 6 September.
Information on the programme for the rest of the season can be found on our Programme page.
Randalstown Historical Society’s annual outing, held on Saturday 1 June, was to the village of Greyabbey on the Ards Peninsula. The first stop was Grey Abbey House, home of the Montgomery family who have lived here since the 17th Century. We were given a warm welcome and the Gardener led us first on a tour of the gardens, in particular the area dedicated to plants from the southern hemisphere. This was followed by a fascinating tour of the splendid Georgian house. We enjoyed a delicious lunch before heading over to the ruins of Grey Abbey itself where a volunteer guide from the Friends of the Abbey group told us something of the abbey’s history. Close to the abbey is a well-presented interpretation centre and a beautiful physic garden where volunteers tend many of the herbs which would have been grown in the heyday of the abbey. There was also the opportunity to explore St Saviours Parish Church before bringing our tour to an end. All in all an enjoyable day out and even the weather was on our side!
Coming up in later in June, Randalstown Historical Society and Tidy Randalstown will jointly host 2 walking tours of Randalstown with the theme of horticulture and history as part of the annual Arches Festival. The tours are free but must be booked in advance with the Arches office on 9447 8471.
Tuesday 18 June at 7.00 pm
Wednesday 19 June at 10.30 am.
The 2019-2020 season will mark 25 years since the founding of Randalstown Historical Society. Our first gathering of the new season will take the form of a celebratory event to be held on the afternoon of Saturday 14 September at the Station House in Shanes Castle. Further details of this later.
Randalstown Historical Society held its AGM on Thursday 3 January when Dr Selbert Rainey stepped down from the Chair having served a three-year term. He is replaced by Mrs Isobel Montgomery who has served on the Executive Committee for a number of years. After the AGM the members heard a talk from John Sheldon of Templepatrick Historical Society on the history of Loughanmore House and its owners down the years.
The February meeting, taking place on Thursday 7th, will have an archaeological theme with Claire Foley talking about the excavation of Creggandevesky Court Tomb in County Tyrone, providing a glimpse into prehistoric Ireland.
One of our own members, Ellen O’Boyle, will be the speaker at the meeting on 7 March. The local Gaelic Club, Tír na nÓg, celebrates its centenary in 2019 so Ellen will be talking about the Club’s first hundred years.
The season will come to an end with a talk on Thursday 4 April on the history of the Glenarm Estate by estate manager, Adrian Morrow.
All talks take place in Arches Community Hall on the first Thursday of the month at 8.00 pm. New and returning members will be made very welcome
Randalstown Historical Society’s first meeting of the the 2018-19 season will take place in Arches Community Hall on Thursday 6 September at 8.00 pm when Dr Ron Bishop from Carrickfergus will make a return visit, this time to give a talk on a Victorian Childhood in East Antrim.
New and returning members will all be welcome. In addition to the modest annual membership fee, those attending are asked to contribute £1 at each meeting to help defray expenses.
Details of meetings taking place during the remainder of the season can be found on our Programme page.