I’m an Irishman from Belfast currently living in Scotland. I have to admit that I’ve never really understood what exactly being British means, but there are probably half a million people in Ireland, for whom that is the national identity they feel most comfortable with.
On this day 100 years ago, half a million people lined up across the north of Ireland and beyond to sign the Ulster Covenant. A little dig around my family history reveals a mixture of catholic and presbyterian ancestry, so some of those covenanters were family of mine. I had a look at the PRONI archive to see how many I could spot. Continue reading “The Ulster Covenant: part of my heritage?”
On Thursday 26 July 1973, loyalists exploded a car bomb outside my uncle’s pub in the small village of Drumsurn, Co. Derry. Although I was only six, I remember it quite well as we were visiting at the time. I was staying the night upstairs above the pub with 3 of my siblings and half a dozen or more cousins. Luckily there were no serious casualties.
Recently I was curious to find out the exact timing and circumstances of the bomb attack and had a look through the newspapers of the time at Belfast Central Library. I could find no coverage of the blast in any of the Belfast or Derry City newspapers – a car bomb in a rural village inflicting relatively minor injury and damage obviously struggled to compete for column inches with all the other stuff going on in the summer of 1973. Continue reading “A Blast From The Past”
In celebration of the Antrim senior hurlers qualifying for the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals this year, I’m going to post a couple of match reports from the Summer of 1949. At that time my Dad was seventeen going on eighteen and was selected to represent Antrim on the minor hurling panel. The scorelines from these two matches go a long way to illustrate the gulfs above and below Antrim in the inter-county hurling pecking order.
In Ulster hurling, Antrim are generally untouchable, albeit with Down and Derry making great strides in recent years to get near them. However it is nearly always a struggle for Antrim to challenge the traditionally strong hurling counties like Kilkenny, Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Galway, Clare and Limerick. In 1949 Antrim met Donegal in the Ulster Minor Hurling Final and won with an excruciatingly one-sided scoreline of 13-6 to 1-1. Three weeks later in Croke Park, however, the triumphant Ulster champions would meet a similar fate in the semi-final against Tipperary losing 9-7 to 0-2. Continue reading “When my Dad was a minor (inter-county hurler, 1949)”
One of the saddest stories I learnt about many years ago, when studying my family history, was the tragic death of my great-uncle Patrick MULVENNA. In 1913 he left the family farm in Gowkstown, Glenarm, Co. Antrim to emigrate to Canada. On Wednesday 25 June 1913 the train carrying Patrick and hundreds of other immigrants across Canada derailed near Ottawa. Two of the nine carriages plunged into the Ottawa River – unfortunately Patrick must have been on-board one of these coaches and didn’t survive the accident. Continue reading “Patrick MULVENNA dies in 1913 Canadian train disaster”
This morning I recalled that the National Archives in Dublin have made their census records for 1911 freely available online for counties Dublin, Kerry, Antrim and Down, so I thought I would seek out the returns made by my Co. Antrim ancestors. My entire paternal side all hail from Co. Antrim – but in terms of direct ancestors this translates into just two households as all my great-great-grandparents on that side are deceased by 1911. Continue reading “1911 Irish census records online”