Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Derrykeighan Tythe Problem, 1758

This is to Give Notice to all the Inhabitants of the Parish of Derrykeehan that will Assist or help to Draw Tythe or Give Place to Stack or any Conveniency thereto they may expect all that they have to be Demolished except John Mc Kinny in Carnaff who has made his Garden for it take Notice of this that he will go Contrary to this Notice given need not Expect that Thomas Harter damning and Singueing his Soul will save them from us
Anthony Burnall
Patrick Flamer
Peter Fire & Sword
James Envy
& Hearthatred
George Hunt you Esqr

County of Antrim.

Whereas an advertisement was posted at Derrykeechan, on or about the third of September instant, a copy whereof is set forth.

WE the Grand Jury of said county, at an assizes held for the same at Carrickfergus, the eleventh of September, 1758, in order to discover and bring to justice the author or authors of said advertisement, do hereby promise a reward of twenty Guineas to the person or persons who shall, within three calendar months, discover and prosecute to conviction, the author or authors of said advertisement. Dated at Carrickfergus, the 14th September, 1758

H Skeffington, Edmond Mc Naghten, H Langford Rowley
Con. Richard Dobbs, Charles Mc Daniel, William Agnew
Roger Moore, John Dunkin, James Leslie
William Higginson, Edward Jones, Hunger Skeffington
Thomas Ludford, Samuel Bristow, Alexander Mc Aulay
Stewart Banks, Andrew Todd, Davys Wilson
Rowley Heyland

[source: Belfast News Letter, 19 September, 1758]

Parish of Loughguile - An 1801 Letter

John Nevin letter from Knoxville, TN, USA in 1804

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Portcaman - Bushmills Folklore and History No6

The Bushmills Folklore and History Group has just published its sixth edition of photos, original articles and other items of local interest. It's available from local shops, including David Speers' Causeway Books.

Richard Hemphill of Sycamore Cottages, 77 Station Road, Whiteacre Heath, Birmingham BT46 2JB would love to hear from other Hemphill researchers. His grandfather, James Stinson Mayne Hemphill, was born at Ballyclough Townend and he and his wife Louisa (nee Statham) raised eight children at No 1 Klondyke Terrace, Bushmills before migrating to Birmingham, England.

Overseas readers who want to purchase a copy of the magazine can write to the following 'amended' email address for further details: raymondmcmullan at hotmail dot com

Bushmills Ancient Wells

“Bring me a drink of the well of Sharvagh,” pleaded a young girl, fever-tossed on a bed of sickness at Moycraig. Water was brought from a near-by well but the moment she had taken one sip, “Take it away,” she said, “this is not the water of Sharvagh.” Swift and loving feet, though Sharvagh was some distance away, ran and fetched the desired water. When the sick girl had taken a draught she fell into a refreshing and healing sleep, from which she awoke restored.

In days agone Bushmills got its water supply from three wells, clear and unpolluted: Robin’s Well, by the river’s brink at the head of the town; the well which is still in King William’s Square in the centre; and the Berry Brae Well in the west. Sharvagh Well is in private property and was in the possession and reserved by the Anderson family seventy years ago. (Hugh Anderson, of Clogher-Anderson, was a distiller).

There were also two wells further out: Hamill’s Well, near the Manse, and another a short distance up the road leading to Sir Francis Macnaghten’s farmyard which supplied the watering-trough at the Porter Lodge.

Sixty years ago the water at the Berry Brae Well ceased flowing for some years in consequence of being polluted by a woman who washed her feet in it.


Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Jamisons of the Giant's Causeway

Robert Thompson reminded me recently of a query he was dealing with relating to a Jamison family. I telephoned one of the Jamison descendants and she was able to tell me that her grandparents, William Jamison and Elizabeth/Betty Cousins, had lived at Dulisk, near the Causeway, that their children had attended the local school, now a museum, and that some members of the family were buried in the graveyard at Billy Parish Church.

I spoke to Jeannie, a former pupil at the school, and she remembered her Jamison classmates as well as their parents. William had worn a supporting metal cage and this might have been linked to injuries he'd received as a soldier in WW I. He died in 1935 at the relatively young age of 37, just two years after his father, also called William.

Jeannie then produced a postcard photo of William Jamison, snr. The following is written on the reverse: "William McDowell Jamison - Born 2nd November 1840 - (taken) 1st Sept 1927". The photo of William is supposedly taken outside the then toilet block at the Giant's Causeway.

The 1901 Census provided additional information. The Jamisons were living in a house labelled #19 in the townland of Ardihannon. They would appear not to be related to the Jamieson families linked to Ballintoy parish:

  • William snr, head of family, CoE, can read and write, aged 57, coachman, married and born in Co Down
  • Annie, wife, CoE, can read and write, aged 29 and born in England
  • Oswald, son, CoE, aged 5, scholar and born in England
  • William, son, CoE, aged 2, infant and born in Belfast City

Oswald died in 1912; he was only 17.

Additional information about this family would be much appreciated.


Dulisk is on the east side of the townland of Ardihannon and there were formerly two Jamison thatched cottages in the row of buildings that are now used by the National Trust as an education centre on the west side of their Innisfree offices on Causeway Road. Innisfree was the former home of the Mitchell family who had come to Dulisk from the Stranocum district circa 1949.

JAMISON - November 10, at his father's residence, Dulisk, Giant's Causeway, Oswald Hewer Jamison, aged 17 years - Deeply regretted

Ballymoney Free Press, December 5, 1912

Oswald Jamison, Dulisk, 11-11-1912, aged 17
Harriet Ann Jamison, Dulisk, 4-3-1924, aged 22
Annie Jamison, Dulisk, 13-4-1934, aged 62
William Jamison, Giants Causeway, 27-9-1935, aged 37
William Jamison, Giants Causeway, 10-5-1939, aged 99

Billy Parish Church Burial Records

Ballymoney Family History Festival 2009

The Ballymoney Borough Council Cultural Services Unit is currently researching the possibility of hosting a genealogy festival during the summer of 2009.

The idea would be to help people across the world that are researching their Ballymoney roots and give them an opportunity to meet and share their knowledge and experience.

The "Family History Festival" would be held in Ballymoney Town Hall, which also includes Ballymoney Museum. By the summer of 2009, the museum will have undergone a major re-fit and incorporate a resource area for genealogy researchers.

The format of the Festival would be a series of events that would "educate, entertain and enlighten" the amateur family historian. Visitors would have the opportunity to attend a series of focused activities, for example:

  • Talks on the history of Ballymoney and famous people born in the area;
  • 'Research workshops' with experienced genealogists available to give advice;
  • Bus tours of the region, including graveyards and churches;
  • Case studies of prominent Ballymoney families.

Anyone hoping to attend the event would also be given advice and assistance on booking accommodation in the area and public transport.

We want your ideas!

Planning is in its early stages and the Cultural Services Unit are appealing for your suggestions for the Family History Festival. Is this an event that you would be interested in participating in, or contributing to? What would you like to see included in the programme?

The Family History Festival would require funding and it would have to be demonstrated that there was support for the venture - so please, give us your views. Please leave your comments and ideas for workshops, trips, guest speakers or anything else that would appeal to you.

Keith Beattie

Email me!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Portballintrae Drinking Water Problem

Warning message from

Portballintrae Residents Association

8 November 2007 2100hrs

There was a major water main break in Bushmills on Wednesday 7 November. NI Water say they fixed the broken main and flushed the lines on Thursday but the system has apparently not cleared in Portballintrae. They have been alerted to the unacceptable quality of the water and queries have been made as to why there has been no notification to households in the village.

Residents who called were told to run the main tap for one hour, but after 2 hours of constant running this evening, the water still has unacceptable amounts of sediment.

Please make sure your water is running clear before drinking.

NI Water should be out on Friday to run tests and hopefully clear the lines.

Please call NI Water at 08457440088 to report any water quality problems.

Mystery of the Ballyallaght Triangle

The storm surrounding the ownership of #1 Ballyallaght Farm Cottages continues to rumble on. I've also had a look recently at some planning decisions in the townland of Ballyallaght and the response of the Planning Service. It's worth remembering that it lies within the 4km buffer zone that surrounds the Giant's Causeway World Heritage site and that guidelines were laid down back in 1999.

Here are two excerpts from Moyle District Council minutes:

E/2001/0094/0 Outline. Mr D McCurdy. Adjacent to 267 Whitepark Road, Ballyallaght, Bushmills. Site for retirement dwelling. Mr McGoldrick stated that this application represented an insufficient case on need and lacked integration. He stated that it would also create ribbon development and that an approval could not be granted. Councillor McConaghy expressed his strong disappointment at this refusal and stated that he felt a farmer should not have to explain this need for a dwelling. He stated that he felt none of the three reasons given by the planners for refusal were substantiated. Councillor Kane concurred with these remarks and stated that the applicant was heavily involved in potato growing and that there was a strong case on need. He stated that he felt a site meeting should be held in relation to this application. After discussion, it was agreed that a site meeting would be held in relation to this application.

This minute was recorded on 23 April 2001. The application eventually succeeded. This new home is just across the main Whitepark Road from the ever growing 'farm cottages' development.

A second minute was recorded the following month, 21 May 2001, for a development on a site that planners insisted could only have a replacement dwelling and, at most, two other dwellings.

E/2001/0113/F Full. Mr S Sweeney. Junction of Whitepark Road and Castlenagree Road, Ballyallaght, Bushmills. Demolition of disused outbuildings, and erection of fourteen dwellings / holiday homes. Mr McGoldrick stated that revised plans had been received for the above application, and therefore this could now be recommended for approval.

There are currently seventeen cottages on the site and I understand there are plans for at least a further three.

Mr Kyle applied for planning permission for holiday homes at #264 and #266 on the west side of the farm cottages. His
application was rejected by the Planning Appeals Commission:

Its August 2007 report on the case stated: "The rationale behind the Ministerial approval of the adjoining development is not clear in relation to whether exceptional circumstances were put forward.
" However, a poor planning decision which clearly affects the setting of such an important environmental asset does not justify a further approval."

Perhaps the DOE Environment Committee should invite McGoldrick and senior members of the Planning Service to explain these transparently erratic decisions.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Derek Torrens' USA Diary

Hi All,

I've had such a wonderful time on my trip to America. It's good to be back but I still feel a little unsettled; sometimes I wish I was still there!!

Anyhow, I flew into Newark Airport on Monday 24 Sept after a lovely 7 hour flight from Belfast with Continental Airlines. I had loads of legroom and no one sitting beside me either which made it much more comfortable.

I then got the Amtrak train to Philadelphia which I reached about 5pm. I went to an Irish pub for some grub and while I was waiting I was shocked and not amused to see a photo of Gerry Adams hanging on the wall. My mobile phone, which I bought especially to work in America, decided not to work for me but I managed to get good news via a text message to tell me that my niece had a baby boy so I had to have a drink on that!!

Tuesday 25th;- I went and bought a new phone for $55, then got a Tour Bus around Philly which was great and the weather was lovely - saw the Liberty Bell and the House of Independence where our own Thomas McKeen from Ballymoney signed the Declaration of Independence that made me feel proud.

I had to go back to the Sheraton hotel which was only booked for me for one night (by my friend in Connecticut at $69 a night - usually over $200, but she gets special offers as she works for the Sheraton Hotel Group) and pick up my things to go to another Days Inn hotel I had booked online at Roosevelt Ave; it was a dump.

More and more


Sunday, 28 October 2007

Ballintoy, Knocksoghey and the Blackside

On my grandfather's birth certificate, the place of birth is given as Blackside, Ballintoy, Co. Antrim. The problem is that I can't find Blackside on a map, either on the new OS map or on old ones. I've also searched on the Internet without success. I've tried spelling it differently too. Can somebody help? Peter Corrigan, Sweden

I've only just recently heard of the Blackside. It's in the townland of Knocksoghey - Cnoc Sochai - "hill of the host/army", about one mile east of the village of Ballintoy. Apparently, the sun isn't visible above Knocksoghey from about the beginning of November to the beginning of February.

The Jamieson family have been living at the Blackside for several generations. Visitors to the rope bridge at Carrickarede used to take the old winding path that led from their farmyard down to the bridge. This old pre-1940s postcard [click to enlarge] shows the farmyard with the cornstacks on the east side/right.

The site of the long low narrow building to the west of the Jamieson property featured* in BBC NI's Spotlight programme, "Ian and the Giant", on Tuesday, October 23 past; #111 appears in its 'west wing'.

"A site meeting had been arranged with the planners to lobby and get approval for the site. I was there, Dr Paisley was there, Ian Paisley jnr was there, and Seymour Sweeney, the owner of the property was there" ... Cllr Price McConaghy, Moyle District Council

There was also a picket of local people in attendance that Saturday, September 4, 1999: 'Sometime in the future there will be no-one here but holiday home owners. There will be no natives to tell visitors the history of our area'. [Ballymoney Times]

I'm told that only a very small number of people were permitted onto the site and it's not clear whether or not anyone went inside the buildings to carry out an inspection.

The Schedule of Accommodation page from the planning file matches the following minutes yet, as far as I can see, there was only one dwelling - #111 on the map - and some out-buildings compared with a request for the two replacement dwellings shown on the schedule:

"E/2006/0083/F Sweeney 6 Seaport Avenue, Portballintrae, BT57 8SB. Location 111 Whitepark Road, Ballintoy. Proposed alterations and extension to underground area of extant planning approval E/1999/0380/F (presently under construction)." ... Moyle Council Minutes, 21 August 2006

Didn't the planners and those lobbying for the application spot the discrepancy? 'Presently under construction' is hardly a useful description for a large hole in the ground with a tracing of concrete; there's not much to see for eight years work. And there's more ...

Property #4, in the 1901 Census - see comment #2 - shows one dwelling, a stable, a cow house, a piggery, a barn and a shed. Local people say that the dwelling was at the west/left end and the stable, barn, piggery and byre were to the right of it. The barn once had an indoor threshing mill and the horse-walk was on the seaward side.

I'm told that prior to the site meeting contractors 'refurbished' the outbuildings; apparently #111 had been improved with a Housing Executive grant in the mid 1980s.

We've all heard about old time farming where the pigs were kept in the parlour but who'd have expected to find a bathroom suite in the piggery!! Whoever thought of this wheeze apparently had only arranged for the connection of a cold water supply and, as there was no connecting door, the lady of the house would have been expected to make her way to the cold ablutions via the garden or yard - a blue Blackside backside in the parish of Ballintoy!!

The late Cllr Bertie McKay of Portbraddon told me that the authorities were invited to check the plumbing but it seems that the planning service and the lobbyists may not have got the message.

The 4th and 5th revaluations at the (former) Valuation and Lands Agency site show a #111 and #111a, VLA Property References: 2113061201110004 and 2113061201110101. The old sow, OOPS, lady of the house would have got a bit of a shock if a bill from the rates collection folks for 111a had dropped on the floor. An acquaintance of mine has queried the bill for 111a and was told that if anyone was that anxious to pay rates the office would happily have supplied a bill - or words to that effect!!

The buildings were tumbled shortly after the 'successful' site meeting and there's now a huge hole in the ground where the imagined dwelling used to be. There's a splendid view out to Sheep and Rathlin Islands but what exactly is the purpose of the hole. If it's for a lower level apartment then an extensive amount of rock would need to be quarried on the north side of the hole.

It's difficult to see how the planning service would permit this quarrying considering current regulations. Who knows? The some time lobbyist who failed to spot the peculiar plumbing in the piggery is now the First Minister and the Minister for the Environment belongs to the same party. This may be the story of a dripping tap rather than a smoking gun and a Dr Yes rather than a Dr No.

Yes, First Minister ....

*I'm told this was edited out of the broadcast program.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre Controversy - on TV

Where will the

Watch your TV tonight at 10:35 pm
- BBC Northern Ireland -
for the latest

Presumably the video will be available on the internet from Wednesday.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

The Boals Family

Four members of the Boals family and the years the photos were taken: James LaSalle Boals, III & Helen Caroline Markley Boals (1993) with their sons Stephen Markley Boals (1970) and Gregory Knox Boals (1976).


James LaSalle (McFarland) Boals, Jr in the 1930's and Elinore Milford (Taggart) Knox Boals in 1927 with their son, James LaSalle Boals, III.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Police Station, Bushmills

Bushmills had quite a good community police service two generations back. Officers probably weren't born locally but they either lived in the station or nearby. They had their finger on the pulse of local life - and their hands on the shoulders of local miscreants.

The bicycle gave way to the police car and, as far as I know, officers are no longer really in touch with local people. The Troubles gave us the present appearance of the police station but we've had a 'cessation' for more than thirteen years.

E/2003/0435/F Full. Police Service of Northern Ireland ESBU, 94 Main Street, Magheraboy/Bushmills BT57 8QD. Replacement of the front perimeter and disabled access works.

But still no visible sign of a much needed transformation. Will the Bushmills station get a face-lift or will the site be sold off to a developer? Perhaps our public representatives would let us know where they stand .....

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Celtic "Tiger Fish"

A friend of mine claims he saw two well known local personalities aboard the Tiger Fish - the two Gentleman of Girona - Ian Paisley jnr MLA and Seymour Sweeney. Both are in the eye of the storm that has engulfed the proposed Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre; there are possible implications for the future of the planning process. The Tiger Fish is currently berthed in Ballycastle Marina so that should please the ratepayers of Moyle. [Click on image to enlarge]

Some wit has been having a little bit of fun:

AND it came to pass in the year 2007, that verily, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in Ballymoney, and said, “Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see all manner of evils, terrorists in government and the end of all flesh before me. Build me another Ark and save two of every living thing

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Vibrant Villages in Portballintrae

This once delightful seaside village has become something of a ghost town in winter; the small shops have gone and many local residents have departed.

The gloom rises when the second-home owners come to town - and so does the aroma. I understand the sewage discharge into the bay at peak periods has created pollution levels that are twice as bad as, say, Castlerock and Portrush.

Why have our ministers (direct rule and local), public representatives and planners allowed such circumstances to come about? The Planning Appeals Commission has put a brake on the 'concreting over' of the old Salmon Fishery site but much more needs to be done.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

3rd Causeway Coast Masterplan Forum - 28th March 2007

Here are links to slide presentations about the future development of tourism facilities for the Causeway Coast:

Ciaran McGarrity, Chief Executive, Giant's Causeway Visitor Facilities Ltd

Susanna Allen, Environment and Heritage Service

Kathleen, Tourism Forum 07

Don Wilmot, Causeway Coast and Glens Tourism

The 'future' is currently in abeyance!!

Causeway Bomber Story Broadcast

The Bob Huggins interview with Jill Moss is to be broadcast on Down Radio today about 12:30pm. Jill is the niece of Wilson Twentyman, NZAF, who perished in the crash at the Giant's Causeway in July 1942.

Sorry about the very short notice!!


Barbara Woodhouse, niece of the other crash victim, Sgt Vernon Pither RAAF, was only four years old when her uncle died. Like Jill Moss from NZ, she remembers well his photograph in her grandparent's home. They talked a lot about Vernon and were relieved that he was buried on 'home' ground.

Vernon had three brothers. They were all born on the family farm and Barbara's father stayed at home to run it; he was in the Home Guard. Another brother became a Methodist minister. The third brother became an Air Commodore, specialising in radar development.

Vernon was a practising Christian and had thought of becoming a minister himself. He met the Acheson family when he was stationed at Limavady; they lived in the Methodist manse. They laid on tea for the airmen every Sunday; Vernon always turned up and Lorna Acheson still remembers how special his voice was as he sang familiar hymns.

Lorna, now in her eighties, has very fond memories of Vernon; she and her family were devastated when they heard that he had been killed. They went to his funeral service in Christchurch Parish Church and Lorna's future husband, an RAF officer, was one of the pall bearers.

An avenue of eucalyptus trees was planted in Shepparton, Australia, in memory of the young men who had died overseas; there's a plaque at the bottom for each one. Vernon's tree has matured and Barbara and her family often walk along this memorial avenue.

During her visit to Northern Ireland, Barbara and her granddaughter, Alice, visited Aghanloo airfield, Drenagh House, the old billets along the Murderhole Road that Vernon possibly lived in, his grave at Christchurch where she placed a poppy cross and then on to the crash site at the Giant's Causeway. She found the experience very moving and was impressed by the care and attention devoted to the maintenance of her uncle's grave.

She echoed Jill's words in saying that if Vernon had to die on active service then at least his last view on this earth was the Giant's Causeway, not a bombed German city.

Glenda Rodgers

Monday, 17 September 2007

Poem query

My cousin in Leeds recalls part of a song or poem he heard years ago whilst living in Portrush. He asked me to look it out on the internet for him, but I can find no trace of it. It goes :

I have no Mother for she died,
When I was very young,
But still her memories round my heart
Like morning mists have clung.

Does anyone know all the words?


Saturday, 15 September 2007

Andersons of Antrim, Ireland

I am trying to locate Andersons in Antrim, Ireland, in particular, the family of Charles Anderson who emigrated in about 1788 to Canada. It is possible that he was in the USA and then went to Canada.

Charles married Ann Nelles whose father was a captain in the American Revolution. It is also, known that he travelled with a close friend or relative named David Cargill from Antrim, Ireland.

Our belief is the Cargills were from Mallendober/Ballyhemlin, just over one mile south-east of Bushmills; this is based on David Cargills will.

These Andersons could possibly be linked to the Andersons of Clogher Anderson in Billy Cemetery and perhaps the Cuppage family. The Antrim and Canadian Andersons appear to use similar first names in the 19th century.


Ballyallaght Farm Cottages

Does anyone know the meaning of Ballyallaght, or Ballallaght as it is sometimes called locally?

The cottages have been mentioned in the row over the Giant's Causeway Visitor's Centre. They occupy an old farmyard in the V between the main A2 road that passes along the Causeway Coast and the minor Castlenagree Road.

Some years ago, the planners told the then farm owner that only a replacement dwelling for the former thatched farmhouse would be permitted on the site as there were too many exits and the A2 was a busy road. Since then, a developer has been permitted to build more than fifteen apartments on this supposedly single home site.

The seagulls in the gable window of apartment #1 look rather forlorn. Many of these apartments are likely to be second homes so it will be a quiet spot during the winter months as the resident 'birds' will have migrated to other perhaps less beautiful but warmer climes.


Mystery of the Ballyallaght Triangle

Rooms with a view

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre Controversy

The Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre is in the news and is a subject of intense political debate.

Money spent on the winning and other designs may be money down the drain.

The visitor centre that Foster, the Minister of the Environment, is 'minded' to permit - no 5 above - would appear to be located on the Portbraddan fault or incredibly close to it. It seems a strange place to locate a 'bunker'. The line of the fault is shown on "The Causeway Coast" produced by the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland.

The magnetometer survey covers a different but adjacent area to the competition site because its purpose was to try and establish the position of the Portbraddan fault.

An earlier application by the same developer to build at this location was rejected by the Planning Appeals Commission of Northern Ireland in 2002.

UNESCO-IUCN has also commented in 2003:

However, a number of potential threats exist, including development proposals, which could threaten the values and the integrity of the site. None of these proposals have been through the full planning process and have been approved. No approval should be given without reviewing a proposed development within the context of the protection and safeguarding of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the World Heritage site and its management.

2.3 Institutional Framework
Under the World Heritage Convention, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is the government body responsible for all World Heritage sites in the UK. The Environment and Heritage Service (Belfast) is responsible for protected areas in Northern Ireland, including the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast, the only World Heritage property in Northern Ireland. No single World Heritage site manager was identified. [UNESCO 2003 report]
It would appear that Margaret Hodge, DCMS minister, is ultimately responsible for the protection of the status of the World Heritage site, not the Assembly Executive in Belfast.

I understand EHS is also responsible for any part of the Causeway Coast which is an Area of Special Scientific Interest and there appear to be problems with sewage discharge, not just into the bay at Portballintrae but also around the Giant's Causeway headland eg discharge into Portcoon above low water mark from a primary treatment works that serves the current visitor's centre and adjacent properties.

Draft Northern Area Plan 2016: Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site

The Giant’s Causeway WHS is unique, and both an environmental and economic asset to the Plan area and to Northern Ireland as a whole. The Causeway and its immediate environment remain relatively untouched by intrusive human activity, and should remain so. The Department is, however, conscious of its importance to the Northern Ireland economy as a key visitor attraction, and the need to provide appropriate essential facilities in the vicinity to meet visitor needs. The Department considers essential facilities to include a high quality reception and interpretation facility for the understanding and enjoyment of the WHS. Associated facilities may include ancillary catering and retailing for use by visitors. Attractions associated with the site, but not essential for visitor needs will not be acceptable, nor will development generally. Any development will be required to be sited and designed not to cause detriment to the landscape, which is intrinsic to the site’s appreciation, or to scientific interest.

The plan now appears to be in limbo:

Carson McDowell - Litigation Triumph

Carson McDowell Solicitors are today delighted with the outcome of its Judicial Review proceedings against the Department of the Environment regarding the form and contents of the draft Northern Area Plan 2015 on behalf of its client Seaport (NI) Limited.

and there's more:

Carson McDowell sponsors key Planning Conference

Exploring the Future of Planning in Northern Ireland

There has for some time been a consensus that the current planning system in Northern Ireland is not working as effectively as it could to the benefit of all those who depend on it.

The cost of this six hour conference to participants is £229.12. How many Joe And Josie Bloggs can afford this?

Can the future of planning in general and planning for the World Heritage site and its environs in particular be entrusted to cabals of politicians, planners and developers? Planning outcomes would appear to indicate that the current system is not to the benefit of all.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Trainor/Traynor Query

Does anybody know of this Trainor/Traynor family, in Leck 1900>1905 and Prolusk 1905>1920's?

Mrs Jane Trainor, nee Kirkwood, had sons, William and Patrick, and daughters, Sarah Jane and Mary. Mother and daughter Mary both died in 1929 in Ballymoney Route Hospital.

Patrick married Meta McDade/McDaid of Carnsampson, Ballycastle, and died in 1942 on the Burma railway line as a prisoner-of-war. But what happened to William? He is rumoured to have gone to Canada and possibly got killed around 1930. Does anybody know the story?

And also Sarah Jane, what happened to her? She may have been linked to a McSheffrey of Novally, Ballycastle, who walked with a limp after a WWI heel injury. The Trainors may have lived at Coolkenny, Ballycastle, for a time.

Please contact me through the NALIL blog if you know anything.

Sean T Traynor

Monday, 3 September 2007

Bomber Crash at Giant's Causeway - 2

Glenda Rodgers met John Quinn, author of "Wings over the Foyle", last Wednesday, August 30. John gave Glenda a conducted tour of Aghanloo Airfield near Limavady, going into all the existing buildings and explaining their use.

They then had tea with Lorna, daughter of Mrs Acheson who organised social gatherings for the airmen in Limavady during WWII. Lorna clearly remembered Vernon Pither, the RAAF pilot, who perished in the crash.

Jill Moss arrived from New Zealand yesterday. She's a niece of P/O Wilson Twentyman, NZAF, the other pilot who died in the crash. After a quick tour of Belfast Glenda and Jill drove up the Antrim Coast Road, dropping into Murlough Bay on the way.

Today's itinerary begins with a visit to Aghanloo then it's off to Drenagh House, near Limavady, where the airmen were billeted and to the Alexander Arms where they spent their leisure time. The Limavady trip will also include a visit to the graveyard at Christchurch Parish Church, Drumachose, where Jill will lay a New Zealand poppy in memory of her uncle.

Sometime this afternoon they will visit the crash site near the Giant's Causeway. According to Colin Sinclair, the plane flew over the houses on Runkerry Road, just before Runkerry House, and crashed on the high ground overlooking Portcoon. The nose cone of the bomber ended up at the back of the little gorge there and it's possible that the bomber collided with a small eminence that lies between Blackrock Strand and Portcoon. Portcoon is the first inlet on the Ulster Way as you walk west from the Giant's Causeway Hotel.

Update: The Wellington bomber's serial number was DV772. Was it a Mk 1C*? Where was in manufactured?

The photo shows Jill and Glenda being interviewed at the Giant's Causeway by Bob Huggins of Downtown Radio on Wednesday, September 4.

Barbara Woodhouse, niece of Vernon Pither, is planning to visit the North Coast on September 15.

*It was a Mk 1C - the image at the top is a Mk 2

Friday, 31 August 2007

Message from Ballymoney Ancestry

Site Updates

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NEW Ballymoney Genealogy Blog

David Gray of Dunseverick, 1641/2

David Gray and many others got caught up in the Ulster rebellion of 1641; it was part of the Wars of the Three Realms in the reign of Charles I.

The image is taken from John McCurdy's "Toberkeigh" and the depositions are held in Folio 3.9, Trinity College, Dublin [link added]. Just click image to enlarge it.

There is a David Gray in Dunseverick in the 1666 and 1669 Hearth Money Rolls, perhaps the same one who testified in 1651/2 and there are still Grays in that district.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Happy Birthday, Norman - King of Dalnalil

My hands are shaky and my knees are weak
I cant seem to stand on my own two feet
Who do you thank when you have such luck?
Im in love
Im all shook up
Mm mm oh, oh, yeah, yeah!

Then again, it could just be your age. Have a nice day!!

This photo was taken - by Kate? - at a NALIL gathering in the Causeway Hotel. From left to right: Agnes, Hazel, Derek, Norman, Sherry, Nevin and Jennie.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Happy Birthday, Emma - Sweet 17

This one's from my generation!!

And here's one to test your artistic talent. Check it out on broadband.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

E Estyn Evans - "Irish Folk Ways"

"Irish Folk Ways" was first published fifty years ago in 1957. The link provides extensive excerpts from this memorable publication as well as links to possible sources.

A classic in its field, this charming work by a noted scholar explores traditional Irish customs and activities--from thatching a roof, churning butter, cultivating and harvesting crops, making pots and pans and building furniture to behavior at weddings, wakes, festivals, and funerals. "For all its learning, the book is popular in the best way, and admirably illustrated. . . ."--"Times Literary Supplement." (London)

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Turfahun poem

The bards may sing a sweeter lay
In praise of beauty's grace
And swell the part that wealth may play
For maids of plainer face
But if to me you'll lend an ear
Before my song is done
It's of a country lass you'll hear
That dwelt in Turfahun
'Twas in a Ballycastle fair
About the Lammas time
When farming folk throw aff a' care
And hairst is in its prime
Amang the lave may heart as yet
Was only bent on fun
But Cupid smote me when I met
The lass o' Turfahun
For rosy, healthful womankind
And native wit that's quick
In Ballycastle fair you'll find
Of all the world the pick
'Twas there, in crowd from every airt
My eye got fixed on one
Dismounting from a farmer's cart
That came frae Turfahun
With youthful zeal, though blate an' shy
I helped her to alight
She thanked me, and her glancing eye
Betokened all was right
My glance met hers, the vision passed
But round my heart was spun
A web of love that bound me fast
To her of Turfahun
I sought her, later, in the dance
She yielded me her hand
And in the mazes of a trance
We entered Fairyland
I scarcely knew I touched the floor
When once the jig began
But seemed on music's wings to soar
With her of Turfahun
The dance when done, we both sat down
I begged her name and place
And praised the fashion of her gown
The fairness of her face
She gave her sunny curls a toss
(A cloud o'erswept my sun)
"My name," said she, "is Mrs. Ross
I live in Turfahun!"
To meet was sweet, but sad to part
'Twas years ago and yet
The memory of a lost sweetheart
Is hardest to forget
And though I'm growing gray of hair
Long as life's sands may run
I'll mind that Ballycastle fair
And her of Turfahun

John Troland
Norwich, Conn., U.S.A.

[published in the Northern Constitution on December 31st, 1910]

Wild Posies collection 1915

Names and Rhymes

A note from Jennie in the Rockies reminded me of two little rhymes I made many years ago. The first one is a play on Hill, the surname and hill, the physical feature.

Hills of The Hollow
Hills of The Shore
Hills of Islandranny
And the Hills of Croaghmore

Ballyallaght and The Aird
Ballyhunsley and The Coole
Ballyhemlin and The Haw
Ballyoglagh and The Poole

Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, Aug 27-28

At the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle long ago
I met a pretty colleen who set me heart a-glow
She was smiling at her daddy buying lambs from Paddy Roe
At the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!
Sure I seen her home that night
When the moon was shining bright
From the ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!


At the ould Lammas Fair boys were you ever there
Were you ever at the Fair In Ballycastle-O?
Did you treat your Mary Ann
To some Dulse and Yellow Man
At the ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!

In Flander's fields afar while resting from the War
We drank Bon Sante to the Flemish lassies O!
But the scene that haunts my memory is kissing Mary Ann
Her pouting lips all sticky from eating Yellow Man
As we passed the silver Margy and we strolled along the strand
From the ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!

Repeat Chorus

There's a neat little cabin on the slopes of fair Knocklayde
It's lit by love and sunshine where the heather honey's made
With the bees ever humming and the children's joyous call
Resounds across the valley as the shadows fall
Sure I take my fiddle down and my Mary smiling there
Brings back a happy mem'ry of the Lammas Fair

Repeat Chorus

If you've a personal memory of the Lammas Fair you'd like to share please add it as a comment or send it to the contact email address to be entered in the blog.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Bomber Crash at Giant's Causeway in WWII

Glenda Rodgers: "I was at a Bushmills British Legion meeting a few months ago. Colin Sinclair of Portballintrae, a former RAF airman, brought up the subject of two airmen killed at the Giant's Causeway and raised the possibility of placing a permanent memorial to them near the crash site. I came up with a very interesting story after researching documents about the tragedy.

A Wellington bomber took off from Aghanloo, near Limavady, on Monday, 20th July, 1942. It was one of the first airfields built for Bomber Command in WWII. The bomber was on a low flying training exercise and, while the pilot attempted to establish his position in low cloud and poor visibility, it flew into the ground and caught fire. The crash occurred just two hundred yards from the Causeway Hotel.

Pilot Officer Wilson Twentyman, NZAF, aged 26, was flight captain and the other pilot was Sergeant Vernon Pither, RAAF, aged 28. Both men died instantly and are buried at Drumachose (Christ Church) Church of Ireland Churchyard, Limavady.

I wrote to many newspapers in New Zealand and Australia and was able to make contact with Wilson's and Vernon's next of kin. They were delighted to find out that someone was still interested after all this time.

Relatives of both men will be here on holiday this September. They are looking forward to seeing the crash site and the graves.

Aghanloo airfield is still there but is now private property. You can still see the billets and the control tower.

We raffled a painting of the War Memorial at the Bushmills at War Exhibition and raised over £1000. I hope to have a sponsored walk from Portballintrae to the Giant's Causeway via the crash site early next year to raise more funds. Everyone is welcome to help!!"

Update 1: John W Dunbar gives an account of military activities on the Causeway headland in the BBC's Your Place and Mine website.

Update 2: Some memories of Cluntoe Airfield for Keith.

Update 3: Vernon is commemorated on the gates of Shepparton High School; Air Commodore A G Pither was his older brother.

Update 4: The relatives plan to be here at the beginning of September. Local newspapers, apparently, weren't permitted to report the crash.

Bomber Crash at Giants Causeway 2

Bushmills Conservation - Wha's Lik Us

Bushmills was designated as a conservation area in 1991; it lies within the Causeway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is on one of the main routes to the Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site.

The intent of the conservation area is to enhance the settlement's historic and architectural heritage and promote it as a place to live, as a tourist destination and as a place to do business.

The local Divisional Planning Office in Coleraine is responsible for the area's administration, a role held until 1989 by the Historic Monuments and Buildings Branch in Belfast.

Progress has been patchy. Planners are expected to give positive guidance and encouragement but they (and our political representatives) have failed to protect those buildings and penalise those practices which currently blight the townscape. The positive response that has been taken by some owners is being undermined by those who buy properties, board up their windows and permit them to slide into ugly decay.

[updated 22.02.2008]

Monday, 13 August 2007

Bushmills War Exhibit

From July 21-27, 2007, the town of Bushmills hosted an exhibit honoring that community's men and women who had served in the World Wars. As a retired history teacher from the US, I was excited and disappointed. Excited because this would be an opportunity to see a portion of the Wars' histories from more of a UK point of view, and disappointed because we were leaving Bushmills at 5 AM on the 21st and would be unable to visit the exhibit.

In talking to Nevin on Thursday evening, he suggested that I drop by the exhibit on the 20th and talk to them while they were setting up. What a crafty guy Nevin is! While walking back to the inn from dinner, Gayle and I spotted two men carrying boxes of old canteens into the exhibit.
We introduced ourselves to Robert Thompson and Keith Beattie. They graciously and enthusiastically invited us to our own personal viewing of the exhibit.

The exhibit consisted of a surprising amount of material for a small community such as Bushmills. There was an abundance of pictures, artifacts, mementoes, and stories, especially of those who had given their lives for their country. We could have spent hours pouring over the material which Robert collected. He and Glenda Rodgers have spent years collecting and researching the wars and the various local communities' involvement in the efforts. This has resulted in several booklets written on the subject.

We were heart-broken seeing the way a small community like Bushmills gave its sons' lives. In World War I (The Great War), Bushmills lost 96 men, including a William McCurdy. There were 9 sets of brothers killed. One family lost 3 sons. This huge percentage of loss must have devastated the small village.
On July 1, 1916, between 7 and 9:30 AM, 26 of the boys from Bushmills fell at the opening of the Battle of the Somme. 12 more were lost before that battle was over in November.

We couldn't imagine the suffering of the village during this time; the parents who lost sons, the wives who lost husbands, the children who lost fathers, and the girls who lost sweethearts. Everyone in the village must have been effected in some way. This doesn't even account for those who came back suffering wounds both physical and emotional, which would effect them for the rest of their lives.

The village sacrificed another 32 men and 1 woman in World War II. Losses were incurred at places such as Dunkirk, Dieppe, Singapore, Normandy, and prison camps. Some were also lost in the Royal Navy, Royal Merchant Navy, and the Royal Air Force.

We were able to obtain a small book from Robert Thompson called "Bushmills Heroes 1914-1918" which he graciously signed for us. We are grateful to Robert and Keith for the great experience and lasting impressions of the Bushmills World War Exhibit, and to Nevin for the suggestion to "drop in."

Jim McCurdy

[The Fureys and Davey Arthur perform Eric Vogle's "The Green Fields of France" - Nevin]