Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Bushmills - War Memorial Hall at Castlecatt - Opened 1926



Opened by Captain Lyle
[Friday, November 19, 1926]

There was an interesting ceremony yesterday at Castlecatt, near Bushmills, when a hall, provided at a cost of over £1,400, in memory of the men from the district who made the supreme sacrifice and others who served in the great war, was opened by Captain Sydney J Lyle MC, Ballycastle.

Over the principal entrance is the inscription in relief - "In Memory, 1914-1918." Mr Albert McMaster, Ballymoney was the architect, and the contractors were Messrs Cochrane & Elliott, Portrush.


Mrs Denny has been the leading light in the movement from the beginning, enthusiastically backed by her husband and other residents in the district. Aleady about £800 has been raised, and Mrs Denny hopes, by means of entertainments and other schemes, to secure the balance. In Castlecatt a basket-making industry, of which Mrs Denny was the pioneer, is carried on, and the profits from this are to be devoted to the Building Fund of the new hall until such time as the debt has been cleared off.

Mr Albert McMaster, the architect, presented a silver key to Captain Lyle. Rev Samuel McCully, Bushmills, led the singing of "Land of Hope and Glory," Mrs Denny presiding at the piano.

Colonel W S Traill DSO, who presided, said the hall would remind everyone of what they went through in the days of the war. It had been built, as they all knew, through the energy of his sister, Mrs Denny. Through her and their own exertion - because everyone has helped - they had now a hall for themselves. It was only right that Capt Lyle, who was so intimately connected with the the men who served from that district, should open the hall.


Captain Lyle said he had been very closely associated with North Antrim men who served during the war. He had command of a company known as the North Antrim Company of the 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, which was recruited entirely from that district. Something like 400 men joined the company, and though that was not by any meansall that served from North Antrim it was a large proportion. Without boasting of the company he would say that he had every reason to be proud of it. Since they went out in 1915 he could not think of a big battle where the North Antrim men were not present. At the Somme - where Sir Harry Macnaghten, Bushmills, lost his life - at Ypres, Messines, and Cambrai the company lost heavily in officers and men. After that, unfortunately, the supply of troops from North Antrim became exhausted, and the company, more or less, lost its identity, and reserves had to be drafted in from different parts of Great Britain. The battalion to which the company was attached was one of the two battalions of the Ulster Division which remained intact and went to Cologne after the armistice. The graves of the men of North Antrim from one end of of the British front to the other in France and Flanders.

Thanks to Captain Lyle and to all who had helped towards the erection of the hall were expressed by Mrs Denny. They hoped shortly to have tablets provided in the hall giving the names of the fallen and of all from the district who served. Those men had set a splendid example of devotion to duty.

[Published 20 November 1926 - Northern Whig and Belfast Post]

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council - Ballymoney Ancestry Project - Suspended - now Restored

UPDATE :: November 15
ballymoneyancestry.com has been restored

A NALIL friend in the USA recently tried to access ballymoneyancestry.com and received the following message:

This website has been suspended

I'm told that a member of staff from the newish Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council requested that the site be cancelled.

The Ulster Historical Foundation had this to say about the Ballymoney Ancestry project in the past:

"Since 1997, Ballymoney Borough Council has attempted to collect in a single depository the most significant local genealogical resources (such as householders lists, trade directories, hearth rolls etc.) relating to the town of Ballymoney and the villages of the present day borough – Balnamore, Cloughmills, Dervock, Dunloy, Loughguile (or Loughgiel), Rasharkin and Stranocum. The Ulster Historical Foundation was commissioned to compile databases of sources including workhouse records, school registers, estate records, valuation records and will indexes. Background information on these sources was also provided by the Foundation.

These records have been released online in a free, searchable database which holds over 55,000 individual family history records. Ballymoney Ancestry was the first website of its kind in Northern Ireland and was supported by the European Union Building Sustainable Prosperity Fund. Along with a genealogy database, it also provides essential information for everyone planning a family history vacation in the Ballymoney district. The site has attracted people from the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Scotland, England and, of course, Ireland.

The benefits of the website are widespread and Ballymoney Borough Council is extremely satisfied with what has been achieved so far. Not only will it assist visitors with their research into local genealogy archives, it is also expected to lead to an increase in North Antrim tourism. It is hoped that, having had the opportunity to research their ancestry on-line, more and more people will be encouraged to come to the Borough of Ballymoney and walk in the footsteps of their ancestors."

Why is Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council following a different path? Does it have a strategy for genealogy? Which directorate might or might not have assumed responsibility for catering for the needs of those with a particular interest in the subject, especially the diaspora?

A 'genealogy' [or variants] search of the main Council website yields:

Your search did not return any results.

Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council - Culture, Arts and Heritage Strategy 2016-2021 observes inter alia:

What people of Causeway Coast and Glens identified as the cultural assets of the area: Genealogical Resource [one of quite a long list of assets]

There's no mention of a termination of this resource or an evaluation of its role within Cultural Services or Tourism Services. Both of these services are part of the Leisure and Development Directorate [ Current director: Richard Baker].

Perhaps those with an interest in genealogy at home and in the diaspora should convey their feelings and experiences to the director via Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council - or to councillors - or to both. The editors of local newspapers might publish your correspondence: Coleraine Times, Ballymoney and Moyle Times, Ballycastle Chronicle, Ballymoney Chronicle and Coleraine Chronicle.

Local knowledge and support can mean the difference between success and failure in identifying origins as well as speeding up the process; it could also increase the tourism revenue when you consider the descendants of those who emigrated from this northern shore over the centuries.