Event cancellation

I’m sorry to tell you that we have decided not to go ahead with the Christmas event planned for next Thursday night (1 Dec) in O’Kane’s. The number of people signed up to attend was much lower than anticipated and too low for viability. Some members are still, understandably, wary of indoor social gatherings while prior commitments and illness were other factors at play.

This means that our next event will now be our scheduled meeting on Thursday 5 January when David Ewart will be showing us some photographs of Old Randalstown.

I hope you all have a good Christmas and look forward to seeing you in 2023.

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November Meeting

Just a reminder that our next meeting takes place on Thursday 3 November at 8.00 pm in Arches Hall. The topic is one that some of you have expressed particular interest in – the successive engineering projects that have been undertaken to lower the level of Lough Neagh. Our speaker is Dr Liam Campbell, formerly Built and Cultural Heritage Officer with the Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership and now director at the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies. Liam is also a contributor to the recently published book, Lough Neagh: an atlas of the natural, built and cultural heritage. Copies of this will be available for sale at the meeting priced at £25. A good Christmas present for someone, perhaps?

I also wanted to let you know that the Council is running a series of walking tours later this week to commemorate the centenary of the fire at Antrim Castle. They are taking place between Thursday, and Saturday at various times.

These are free events but advance booking is required. Follow this link to find further information and to make a booking.

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October Meeting

Just a reminder that our next meeting takes place on Thursday 6 October at 8.00pm in Arches Community Hall. The speaker will be Dr William Roulston from the Ulster Historical Foundation. His topic will be ‘Researching Farming Families in Ulster’. Hope to see you there.

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Programme for the New Season

Hello everyone

After more than two years of disruption, Randalstown Historical Society is looking forward to welcoming both returning and new members to a more ‘normal’ season of activities. Details of the first four meetings are listed below. Paper copies of the programme will be available at the first meeting.

All meetings, with the exception of the December meeting, will be held at 8.00 p.m.in the Community Hall in ARCHES House, Arches Lane, Randalstown. The community hall is on the first floor of Arches House and can be accessed by an inter-floor lift. Facilities for people with disabilities are available.


Thursday 1 SeptemberDr Ron Bishop
Bragging Rights: A What-If StoryHow a small piece of plastic, an iconic aeroplane
and a bad day at the office just might have changed our world
(This talk was originally scheduled for February of this year but had to be cancelled because of snow.) 
Thursday 6 OctoberDr William Roulston
Researching Farming Families in UlsterSome tips and pointers from the Research Director at the Ulster Historical Foundation 
Thursday 3 NovemberDr Liam Campbell
“Lowerings”: Engineering Water and Land around Lough NeaghA talk from the co-editor of the recently published Lough Neagh: An Historical, Environmental and Cultural Atlas 
Thursday 1 DecemberChristmas Party. Food, drink, prizes and a bit of ‘craic’. Details to be confirmed

Topics in 2023 will include photographs of old Randalstown, the role of the Ulster land agent, and Randalstown railway history. Full details to follow.

Membership subscriptions for 2022 remain at:

Individual £6 – Family £10 – Concession £4

I look forward to seeing as many as possible of you at the first meeting.

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February meeting

Randalstown Historical Society is holding a meeting in Arches Community Hall on Thursday 24 February, 2022. Starting with the AGM at 7.30, we will then move on to a talk from Dr Ron Bishop entitled

“Bragging Rights: a What-If Story” How a small piece of plastic, an iconic aeroplane
and a bad day at the office just might have changed our world.

Ron has presented interesting talks to us in the past so this should be something to look forward to.

The hall can accommodate limited numbers so anyone hoping to attend should contact Linda Houston first of all.

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Walking Tour

A walking tour hosted by Randalstown Historical Society on Saturday 4 September attracted 15 participants. Secretary, Linda Houston took the group on a tour of the Heritage Tales plaques which were placed at locations around the town back in the spring.

The participants enjoyed hearing about the notable (and in some cases notorious!) characters and events associated with the town. All the information relating to the plaques can be accessed via the Heritage Tales section of the Randalstown Arches website.

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Waddell Family Visit to Randalstown

Randalstown Historical Society and Tidy Randalstown were delighted to meet members of the Waddell family on Tuesday 8 June. Jannine and Jon-Barrie Waddell, daughter and son of media pioneer Brian Waddell, together with other family members, visited the town to see the Heritage Tales plaque which now graces their father’s childhood home at 11-13 Main Street. They were accompanied by Brian’s sister and Historical Society member, Frankie McBrien.

Linda Houston and Helen Boyd welcomed them and took them on a short tour of a few of the town’s other attractions, including the Heritage Garden near the Grand Entrance and the Viaduct. Later, Frankie hosted everyone for morning coffee and scones.

The family expressed their appreciation for the recognition the Heritage Tales project had given to Brian Waddell and the role he played in pioneering and promoting film and television production in Northern Ireland. They welcomed the opportunity to renew their links with Randalstown and admired the work done by Tidy Randalstown to improve the town’s appearance and provide attractive planted areas.

You can find out more about Brian Waddell here, while the background to the Heritage Tales project and links to all the other tales can be found in the Heritage Tales section of the Randalstown Arches website.

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Follow the Trail of the Heritage Tales

Randalstown Historical Society is delighted to announce the completion of the Heritage Tales project, funded by Heritage Lottery and undertaken in conjunction with Tidy Randalstown and with technical assistance from Randalstown Arches Association.

Bronze plaques have been put in place at 15 points around the town giving a brief introduction to local stories of historical interest, while QR codes, positioned next to the plaques, take people to more detailed information contained on the Heritage Tales web pages which are hosted on Randalstown Arches website.

Tidy Randalstown took the lead on the project, submitting the bid and handling procurement and administration. Randalstown Historical Society researched and compiled the historical information.

We hope that the trail will provide added interest for locals and visitors alike as they wander around the town and it will complement the large interpretive boards that are already in place along Randalstown’s Heritage Trail.

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AGM Update

Thank you to all the members who responded to our AGM correspondence. Thirty-seven members expressed their support for the Executive Committee’s proposals with none opposing.

The 2020 Executive Committee will therefore remain in post for this year, the members being as follows:

Chair: Isobel Montgomery
Vice-Chair: Arthur Houston
Secretary: Linda Houston
Treasurer: Linda McGovern
Members: Bill Carson, Dr Brian Ford, Rev Canon Derek Kerr, Ergnat LcLaughlin, Dr Selbert Rainey

The Chairperson’s Report, Financial Statement and appointment of the Independent Examiner were also approved.

We still await news on the easing of the present COVID restrictions to allow us to make plans for future meetings.

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AGM By Correspondence

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.

In the meantime, please continue to stay safe.

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