The latest book by well known family historian Dorothy Arthur was launched in Ballymoney Town Hall last Wednesday.
Her third publication on local cemeteries, the comprehensive volume focuses on the remarkable headstones to be found in Derrykeighan Old Church Graveyard.
As with her previous works (on graves in Ballymoney Old Church Graveyard and the adjacent St. Patrick Parish Church) the book is aimed primarily at the genealogy market and presents a detailed list of the headstones which are to be found in Derrykeighan. However, aside from genealogists, everyone who lifts Dorothy’s accomplished work will discover that Derrykeighan Old Church Graveyard is also a place rich in colourful history and well worth a visit.
Dorothy has painstakingly studied all of the headstones, many of which, to untrained eyes, would be completely illegible. Each inscription is carefully transcribed and beside it on the page is a photograph of the grave. Below these details, the author then reveals the story of the family – dates for births, marriages and, of course, deaths; where they lived; who they were related to; their occupation and, occasionally, an anecdotal tale or published account of events linked to their life. Among the names on the 257 headstones, many families are still familiar in North Antrim in the 21st century - Boyd, Cochrane, Dunlop, Huey, Lyle, Nevin, Moore.
“Derrykeighan Old Church Graveyard” by Dorothy Arthur will be available on the night of the book launch at a discount price; thereafter, it can be purchased from Ballymoney Tourist Information Centre, Ballymoney Town Hall or by visiting www.ballymoneygraveyard.com .
To coincide with the launch of her book last Sunday visitors also had an unique opportunity to join Dorothy on a guided tour around Derrykeighan Graveyard.
Dorothy will take visitors to see a selection of the more interesting headstones and reveal the stories of the families that are buried in this fascinating old graveyard which is now carefully maintained by Ballymoney Borough Council. The tour is free admission; no dogs permitted except Guide Dogs. Walking boots or heavy outdoor shoes are recommended as paths do not extend throughout the entire graveyard.