Monday, 22 August 2016

Causeway Coast and Glens - Under and Over the Boardwalk

Winter storms and turbulent seas can wreak havoc. The restoration of the Pans Rock footbridge at Ballycastle highlights what needs to be done at Cushendun where the walk-way down onto the strand has been out of use for a considerable time. Perhaps the relevant responsible body can provide a remedy.

Pans Rock, Ballycastle


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Song - Old Bushmills

The following emigrant-style song was written down in 1939 by Uel Kane of Ballytaggart, a townland that lies a few miles east of Ballymoney, County Antrim:

Old Bushmills

There's a dear little spot far away o'er the sea
And bright in my memory fore'er it will be
Like a baby when sleeping, all smiling serene
And of all Erin's beauties, I call her the Queen

Tho' I may be far over the sea
On whatever fate wills
Yet near to my heart
Will be dear old Bushmills

On the banks of the Bush water* all smiling she stands
And though you may wander in far distant lands
You will all join with me, boys, and stick to the truth
In praising that town on the banks of the Bush

The fame of the Causeway is known far and near
While Carrick-a rede to the tourist is dear
And the Lakes of Killarney and Wicklow's high hills
But to me they seem common compared with Bushmills

Though never again may I see her sweet face
Yet in my bosom I'll keep her, the cosiest place
And when I am weary with cares or with ills
Sure it will banish them all when I think of Bushmills

An almost identical version of the song appears on the website. It's attributed to 'Northern Constitution, Coleraine Songs of the People 375 edited by Willie Devine', is titled "Dear Old Bushmills" and has a different final line:

I will banish them all with a drop of Bushmills.

* Bush Water is an earlier name for the river that meanders through the town.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Zoo the Film - Based on a true story from Belfast in WWII

Young Extras Needed

ZOO THE FILM - Indiegogo pitch from Wee Buns Films on Vimeo

July 18 post

I understand some of the film locations will be in Northern Ireland.

Causeway Coast and Glens - Busy Day at the Dark Hedges

The ever increasing popularity of the Dark Hedges is placing an intolerable burden on the frail elderly trees which form a natural archway over the Bregagh Road, a few miles east of Ballymoney. I've put together a short slideshow based on some of Bob McCallion's very informative photos. All but one of the photos was taken on Thursday, August 11.

Pressure has been building for a number of years but the relevant authorities have been slow to arrive at a solution which would provide a measure of respite.

The Department for Infrastructure in the Northern Ireland Executive has recently announced:

"Following discussions with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and other interested parties, the department has agreed to take forward an order prohibiting vehicles using Bregagh Road."

The department has proposed banning vehicles. Plans are still only in the early stages of consultation.

Meanwhile Tourism Ireland continues to promote this Game of Thrones location so the coaches and other vehicles are likely to roll relentlessly onwards.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Whitepark Bay - Cattle Puzzled by Human Behaviour

 Cattle on a Sunday Stroll

Whitepark Bay on the north Antrim Coast

"If we lay on our backs, folk would laugh at us"

"Go away and leave us in peace"

Portbraddan with Portmoon in the distance

Monday, 8 August 2016

Martha Craig (1866-1950) - 1946 Fire


Martha Craig (1866-1950) - a Sesquicentennial Commemoration

Updated November 27, 2017

Martha Craig was born on this day in 1866. I first noted her name as a reputed neighbour of the McKinley family of Conagher, between Ballymoney and Dervock. I decided to go in search of Martha last year but found her not in north Antrim but in south-east  Antrim, on the high ground between Larne and Carrickfergus and close by the village of Gleno.

Martha, the astronomer

She was born in Carneal, in the parish of Raloo, the daughter of William Craig and Mary Nelson. Mary was a close relation of teenager Willie Nelson who was hanged in 1798 during the course of the United Irish rebellion. Stories about events surrounding the rebellion appear to have had a profound influence on young Martha. She was a remarkable woman yet her remarkable exploits have almost completely disappeared from the public mind. What follows is a brief glimpse into an extraordinary life:

Martha, member of the Henry Joy McCracken Literary Society

[Ottawa Journal 06 June 1898]

[New York World 06 March 1898]

[Lowell Sun 09 July 1904]

Martha on the trail of Hiawatha

[Boston Sunday Globe 06 August 1905]

Martha, the inventor

 Martha, first woman to lecture at University of Salamanca

Martha, the poet

Martha's final resting place
St Columba's graveyard in Gleno

Canada's Early Women Writers
[added 15 August 2016]

Added November 27, 2017

Martha's sister Mary Anne married Robert John McDowell in 1878 and their daughter Margaret Craig McDowell married Thomas Gregg in 1909, parents of Professor Robert John Gregg, sometime Honorary President of the Ulster-Scots Language Society.