The Historical Society is coming to the end of what has been a very successful season, with talks on a wide variety of themes including Protestants and the Irish language, the Ballymena Music Festival, and migration in Irish history. Bishop Donal McKeown visited us in February and shared his memories on what made it special to grow up in Randalstown and in March Dr Brian Ford reminisced about a trip he made to the Taj Mahal by car in the 1970s. We also found out about Richard Kane, born in Duneane, who had a distinguished military career and became Governor of Menorca in the early 1700s. He is still honoured as a hero on Menorca on account of the reforms he introduced to improve the life of the islanders. A fine memorial to his life can be seen in Westminster Abbey.
Our last meeting of the season takes place on Thursday 6 April at 8.00 pm in Arches House. Our speaker will be Dr Ann McVeigh, formerly of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. The title of Ann’s talk is ‘Vere Foster: the Man who Paid Women to Go Away’. Vere Foster is remembered for his contribution to education in Ireland but Ann’s talk will cover other intriguing aspects of his life.
Our annual outing takes place on Saturday 13 May and this year we will be going to Ballyscullion Park near Bellaghy for a tour of the house and garden followed by lunch. We will also visit the Home Place, the Seamus Heaney centre in Bellaghy.
We will soon be making plans for the 2017-18 season, which will start in September. New members will be made very welcome.
The memorial to Richard Kane in Westminster Abbey
Randalstown Historical Society opens its 2016-17 season on Thursday 1 September with a talk by Linda Ervine on “The Hidden History of Protestants and the Irish Language”. Linda is Irish Language Development Officer and Turas Project Leader with the East Belfast Mission.
New members will be made very welcome so come along to Arches Community Hall at 8.00 pm.
Full details of our talks for the coming season can be found on our Programme page
Twenty-four members enjoyed an excellent day out on 21 May when we went by coach to the Lisburn area. Our first stop was at the Ulster Aviation Society’s Collection where we enjoyed a picnic in the sunshine before being split into groups for a guided tour of the impressive collection of aircraft and other exhibits.
We then proceeded to Brookhall Historical Farm which boasts a chapel with roots as far back as the 12th Century as well as an interesting collection of farm implements, a beautiful garden and a lake.
We rounded off the day with a delicious evening meal in the Templeton Hotel.
Look through the pictures to get a flavour of the day
The theme for the next meeting of Randalstown Historical Society is Forebears Rediscovered – a Family History Night. Some of the committee members will be sharing information they have discovered on forgotten Randalstown families and members are also invited to bring along their own family history anecdotes, artefacts or photographs.
As the Society’s new Chairman, Dr Selbert Rainey observed, “it’s the stories that bring family history to life more than just a list of names and dates. It would be great if this evening could uncover some new information”. Tips and pointers for members wanting to undertake their own genealogical research will also be available.
This is the final meeting of the current season and it takes place on Thursday 7 April at 8.00pm in Arches House.
Plans are also in hand for the Society’s annual outing, taking place on Saturday 21 May. The destination will be the Lisburn area to visit the Ulster Aviation Society’s collection and Brookhall Historical Farm. Further information can be obtained from the Secretary, Linda Houston, on 944782874
The February meeting of Randalstown Historical Society will take place on Thursday 4th at 8.00pm in Arches House. The speaker is Catherine O’Hara, a lecturer in design history at Ulster University who is currently researching the Old Bleach and how it contributed to trends in fabric design in the 20th Century. Catherine has made several visits to Randalstown to examine the company archives and is very enthusiastic about Old Bleach designs from the inter-war years and the 1950s. Her talk should be of great interest to local people and anyone interested in Northern Ireland’s textile history and heritage.
And the programme is now out. For our first meeting, on Thursday 3 September, Philip Magennis from Antrim and Newtownabbey Council will give a talk on the Massereene family of Antrim Castle. Come and join us in Arches Community Hall at 8.00pm.
For details of the rest of season’s activities see the programme page.
At this month’s meeting of Randalstown Historical Society we welcome John Killen, recently retired as Librarian of the Linen Hall Library, to talk about the history and the collections of this unique and historic institution. The meeting takes place on Thursday 5th February and as usual starts at 8.00 p.m. Members new and old will be welcome.