Outing to Greyabbey – And What’s Next?

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.

Walks schedule:
Tuesday 18 June at 7.00 pm
Wednesday 19 June at 10.30 am.

25th Anniversary
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.

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The remainder of the season

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


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The new season approaches

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.

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May Outing

Twenty-four members of Randalstown Historical Society had an enjoyable day on Saturday 12 May visiting St. Nicholas’s Church in Carrickfergus and the Railway Museum in Whitehead. Guided tours were provided in both locations the sunny weather was an added bonus!










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March meeting cancelled

The meeting due to take place tonight, 1 March, has been cancelled owing to the weather conditions. Our speaker was coming some distance and the area where she lives has had heavy snow. We will try to re-book her for next season.

Meanwhile, the final meeting of the current season will take place on Thursday 5th April when Peter Dawson, formerly of the Ordnance Survey, will talk about mapping in Northern Ireland.

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There are changes to the programme for final two meetings of the season at Randalstown Historical Society. Laura Spence’s talk on The Rhyming Weaver Poets, originally scheduled for our April meeting, will now take place on Thursday 1 March. The speaker at the meeting on 5 April will be Peter Dawson on the theme of Mapping in Northern Ireland.

Annual Outing

This year’s outing will take place on Saturday 12 May and we will be visiting St Nicholas’s Church in Carrickfergus, the subject of our February meeting, followed by a visit to the new Railway Museum at Whitehead where we will have lunch and a tour of the collection.

As distances are not too great we will not be hiring a bus but car-pooling will be arranged for those who wish to share.

For full details of the itinerary and costs contact Linda Houston.

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The New Season Approaches!

The programme for Randalstown Historical Society’s forthcoming season is now winging its way to our members and promises a varied menu of interesting topics.

The season kicks off on Thursday 7 September with a talk from George Busby on The Secret Listeners of Gilnahirk, the story of the wireless station that has been described as Northern Ireland’s best kept secret of World War II and which linked to the work of the Code Breakers at Bletchley Park.

October’s talk, taking place on the 5th, will be presented jointly by The Hon. Fionn O’Neill Morgan, formerly of Shanes Castle, and James Kane from the O’Neill Country Historical Society. They will talk about O’Neill places and personalities, including French John, the wool trader who inherited Shanes Castle.

The November talk will be given by Valerie Adams from the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland. She will talk about what the Society’s library can offer to family history researchers.

The subjects for other talks for the remainder of the season include Mapping in Northern Ireland, a talk on St Nicholas’s Church in Carrickfergus, Belfast in the nineteenth century and the Ulster Weaver Poets.

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.


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