Friday, 26 October 2012

Long As I Can See The Light !

From time to time I think we all look back to try to see things we may not have seen at the time, however in the end 'Long as I can see the light' - A little cryptic I know but.................... ?


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Ulster Surnames

Family History anorak back on again!
Researching my family history has been very enjoyable, frustration, sad, surprising, but not boring.
I recently purchased this book 'The book of Ulster Surnames' by Robert Bell. An authentic old library book all dog eared - with that old bookie smell, that I don't quite get with my iPad.
Obviously my first stop is Anderson... then Devlin (my mothers maiden name) the Girvan my wife's maiden name.
Anyone interested in their surname drop me a line and I will scan your surname and e-mail it to you.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Newspaper Library Visit

Whilst visiting the newspaper library recently with Mark T, I came across a few 'unusual but interesting' newspaper stories - Newtownards Chronicle - here is one of them: -

I would like to point out that this was in the local newspaper and therefore in the public domain........ please don't attempt any court action against me even though this took place in 1926!!


Monday, 22 October 2012

Green Glens of Antrim

Monday I travel to Ballymoney then onto Kilrea, a beautiful part of Ulster. Here are a couple of snaps I took on the road at around 8.30 am this morning........

1/ Slemish Mountain

2/ Countryside and the Glens of Antrim in the distance.

And the green glens of Antrim are calling to me...............................


Friday, 12 October 2012

A wee bit o drummin

Am, new computer and still finding my way around it - here is a short video of a wee bit o drummin at the front of Stormont 'Parliament Buildings on Covenant Day.


Friday, 5 October 2012

Newtownards Ulster Covenant Exhibition 2012

This is my final post regarding the Ulster Covenant Centenary.
Ards Borough Council commissioned an exhibition to mark the Centenary of the Ulster Covenant.
Mr. Mark Thompson was the man behind a wonderful exhibition, well designed and with excellent balanced content. A number of wee factual gems were unearthed by Mark's group - of highly knowledgeable and professional team.
The exhibition was launched at the Town Hall, Newtownards on Monday24th September 2012 with a great turnout of local folk.
As well as the pop up slides, there is a computer linked to PRONI web site - where you can check to see if your relatives signed the Ulster Covenant and if they did where they signed.
If you live in or around the Ards Peninsula, take time to visit the exhibition, it will be visiting a number of villages in the coming few weeks - you won't be disappointed.
Very well done to Ards Borough and the Mark Thompson team!!



Ulster Covenant Parade - Belfast 2012

I had a magnificent day at the Ulster Covenant Centenary Parade on Saturday 28th September 2012.
I resisted the opportunity to get the Lodge bus up from Newtownards, however I elected to travel by train from Bangor to Great Victoria Street train station. When I arrived it was a surreal experience, Orangemen sitting with their sashes and collarettes on reading the paper, having tea & coffee and relaxing.
The crowds I witnessed were extraordinary, tens of thousands of people - patiently waiting at Sandy Row Belfast to rake part in the parade. Each County was allocated a side street along Sandy Row, I was with County Down. Now I have been to many rugby internationals, premier league football and huge outdoor concerts and I personally estimated the crowds at Sandy Row to be in excess of 50,000 !
We marched proudly through the streets of Belfast, where many, many thousands of Ulster folk lined the street to watch this magnificent spectacle pass by - I am told it took over 4 1/2 hours for the parade to pass any one spot, a truly wonderful sight.
I stood and took part in the religious service and I was greatly heartened to hear my Presbyterian Ministers in great voice and spirit - especially the Rev. Mervyn Gibson who shouted NO SURRENDER at the end of his address - hear hear I say!!
I have selected a few snaps from the day...... I could have posted another dozen or so, however to give you a flavour of the day I have posted the pictures below.
Co. Down Orange waiting at Sandy Row.

Newtownards District entering the Stormont Estate

Older and wee brother Clarke and myself at Stormont

Magnificent view of the parade entering Stormont grounds from the Carson Monmunent

The platform party - Bro Drew Nelson reading the Ulster Covenant

The crowd at the religious service

A drummer in full flow - Lord Carson drum

The hustle and bustle of the drummin men

Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland Standard

The parade resembled and leaving to head home

The magnificent - Dunloy Accordion Band


Mr. Nelson McCausland & The Ulster Covenant

On the 12th July 2010, I stood in the demonstration field at Londonderry Park, Newtownards, listening to the speeches from the platform party, I don't always have time to listen to the speeches or take part in the religious service, but this time I made a special effort to be there and listen.
The keynote speaker was Mr. Nelson McCausland MLA, the then Minister for DECAL (Dept. Culture Arts & Leisure) at Stormont. During what turned out to be the another rousing speech from Nelson, he mentioned something that stuck with me to this day, and something I decided to act upon. Nelson described the upcoming Centenary of the Ulster Covenant Celebrations in 2012 as 'very important to the us as Ulster-men and women' and further went on to use the term 'Birth Certificate of Northern Ireland' and everyone from the Unionist Family, should come together and celebrate this momentous occasion.

Well that's what I did, now not only me, but I had a great deal of help from my good friends Jack Greenald, Mark Thompson and Hamilton Gregory. Our planning began early and as the months rolled on the bits n pieces that we had discussed began to come to fruition - what did we do? - well quite a lot as it turned out 

1/ The Ulster Covenant was signed in many places around the Borough of Ards including the Town Hall. We lobbied the Council to erect a brass plaque in the Town Hall foyer to mark the signing of the Ulster Covenant 100 years ago. This duly took place on Monday 17th September 2012 - incidentally unveiled by the Mayor of Ards Alderman Hamilton Gregory!

2/  Ulster Covenant Exhibition - this was the brainchild of Mark Thompson, but assisted along the way when needed were - Jack Greenald, myself and a few other intelligent folk. The  exhibition has been a great success and very professionally put together. Having spent 2 weeks in the Town Hall, Newtownards, it is now on a tour of the Ards Peninsula. 

3/ Ulster Covenant Centenary Dinner - we (Loughries) planned a dinner and musical evening to celebrate and commemorate the Ulster Covenant in the Town Hall. Newtownards. This duly took place on Ulster Day, 28th September 2012, 100 years to the day when the Ulster Covenant was signed in the very building. The dinner was a sell out - with 2 speakers Drew Nelson Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and MP for Strangford Mr. Jim Shannon. Other VIP's were in attendance including MLA's, local Councillors and dignitaries. We also raised £330.00 for the Mayor's Charities !! 

4/ Ulster Covenant Centenary Parade in Belfast - we did not plan this event, however along with over 100,000 other Ulster folk, we made our way to Belfast and participated in the Orange Parade from Sandy Row Belfast, past City Hall, to Stormont grounds. I have been a member of the Orange Institution for 30 years this year, and it was the greatest parade and event that I had the pleasure to attend - it was magnificent ! One of the speakers on the stage was Rev. Alastair Smyth Grand Chaplain of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland..... Rev. Smyth married my wife and I 14 years ago !!

5/ Ulster Covenant Centenary Church Service - this was held at Grace Free Presbyterian Church Newtownards. Service conducted by Rev. Ron Johnstone Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church with the help of Jack Greenald - and a wonderful supper was provided in the new Church extension
Well as you can read, I was very busy on the run up to the Ulster Covenant and indeed just as busy during and after the event. That said, it was a remarkable week and a huge success. My sincerest thanks are extended to Jack Greenald, Mark Thompson and Hamilton Gregory, also to all the other folk who helped quietly and supported our events.
So from a few words on an Orange Platform by Mr. Nelson MCCausland tin 2010, and with 2 years planning later, we were able to put together a number of Ulster Covenant Events, that proved to be wonderfully successful  and will live long on the memory.

It pays to listen to speeches........ well sometimes !!!