Busy time for Ballintoy Archaeological and Historical Society

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It’s been a busy few months for Ballintoy Archaeological and Historical Society with meetings, talks and evening entertainment.

December 2013 Meeting

The National Trust Tea Rooms at Carrick-a-Rede was the venue for a very enjoyable meeting of the Society held on Thursday 12 December. The guest speaker was Mr Roddy Hegarty, Director of the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Memorial Library and Archive, Armagh, and past chairman of the Federation for Ulster Local Studies.

Roddy gave an excellent illustrated talk entitled Cooking the Goose? The truth about Christmas past, which was very topical given the season. He explained the origins of many of the traditions associated with Christmas and illustrated how this festival is celebrated has developed and changed over the years. After the meeting seasonal refreshments, kindly provided by The National Trust, were much enjoyed.

Members’ Night

The Society held its Member’s Night in Ballintoy Parish Hall on Thursday 30 January 2014. The purpose of this annual event is to give members of the Society an opportunity to give a short talk on a local historical subject they have researched. In turn, it is hoped that these talks will encourage other members to share their research, stories and memories.

The speakers at this year’s event were Miriam Thompson, who gave a fascinating talk on postcards of Ballintoy, which she has collected and researched for many years. In an entertaining and informative presentation, Miriam demonstrated that, while the photographs shown on postcards are obviously a very important historical record, the written messages on the cards are often an equally valuable source for local and family historians. Mrs Thompson also demonstrated how she had used the internet to find out additional information about some the messages on the postcards.

Using information gleaned from issues of The Northern Constitution, Robert Corbett recalled some of the main events which took place in Ballintoy one hundred years ago. Robert’s talk illustrated how local newspapers, which are available in the local libraries, can be used to piece together stories about the Ballintoy area.

The meeting was very well-attended and both talks stimulated much conversation about bygone days.

On the Brink project

The Society has been invited by Causeway Museum Service to participate in the next stage of their On the Brink project. Focusing on the period from 1914 to 1916, the project will explore political developments in Ireland, the outbreak of the First World War and early stages of the War.

The Museum Service want local community groups to get involved to uncover and tell the stories relating to their particular locality. To find out more about the project, some members of our Society, together with a couple of representatives from Bushmills Folklore and History Group, met with John Hamilton, Causeway Museum Service, in St Joseph’s Hall, Ballintoy, on Thursday 6 February 2014.

A follow-up research workshop is being held in Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart, on Thursday 13 February 2014, starting at 6.30pm, and we will update members on progress in due course. In the meantime, if you would like further information about this project or become involved on our Society’s project team, please contact Robert Corbett or send an email to bahs@live.co.uk .

Ballintoy’s Hidden History Project

Robert Corbett, project co-ordinator, will give an illustrated talk on Ballintoy’s Hidden History project in Ballycastle Library on Thursday 20 February 2014, starting at 6.30pm.

The exhibition was displayed in the National Trust Tea Rooms at Carrick-a- Rede and St Joseph’s Hall, Ballintoy, during November and December 2013, and is currently on display in Ballycastle Library. Due to space limitations, the complete exhibition cannot be displayed at the one time, so it is being displayed in parts. If you know of a venue or organisation, which would be willing to stage the exhibition, please let us know. We can be contacted using the following email address: bahs@live.co.uk.

To acknowledge the generous assistance they gave our project, we recently presented a framed print of the reconstruction painting of Ballintoy Castle to Paddy McShane and one of Templastragh Church to Moyle District Council. In the near future, we will also present a framed print of White Park House to The National Trust.

February 2014 Meeting

The next meeting of the Society will be held on Thursday 27 February, commencing at 8.15pm, in Ballintoy Parish Hall. The guest speaker will be Cormac McSparron, who will give a talk on Dál Riadic migrations between Ireland and Scotland. Mr McSparron is an archaeologist at Queen’s University, Belfast.

New members and visitors are very welcome to attend and refreshments will be served after the meeting.