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The latest edition of ‘Before I forget…’  - the regular journal of  the Poyntzpass and District Local History Society has been launched .  Like everything else the Society’s activities have been greatly curtailed and the publication, of what  is the 16th edition of this popular journal, should prove to be a real treat for anyone interested in history in general and local history in particular.

The cover of Before I Forget XVI
The cover of Before I Forget XVI

At 110 pages in length, the journal contains a wealth of well-researched and readable articles based on talks presented to members of the Society in the recent past. There is the unexpected link between Innisheer Island off the coast of Co Galway and Poyntzpass which is outlined in Michael Anderson’s  scholarly biography of the multi-talented George Harrison White, stationmaster and musician. The story of the riotous aftermath of a ploughing match in the Fourtowns in 1835 leading to death and injury is graphically told by Roy Copeland, while David Griffin’s excellent article on the Famine and the Whyte Estate Loughbrickland illustrate that, for the poorest, famine was almost an everyday experience. The Scarva Estate’s connection with William of Orange and the Sham fight is explored by Helena Gamble in her article on the Reilly Family, and extracts from the Diary of Lady Muriel Close give us a unique insight into the many problems this young woman encountered when moving into huge, decaying Drumbanagher House in 1903. 

Joanne Cummins’ article on St Bartholomew’s Parish Church Donaghmore and its famed high-cross, reveal the great depth of her knowledge of her subject and along with the accompanying complete up-to-date transcriptions of all the headstones in the adjoining ancient churchyard will ensure hours of interesting browsing. Included also is Edwin Bryson’s affectionate and comprehensive history of the Newry Hunt, which marked its bi-centenary in 2020.

An article from Edwin Bryson on the Bicentenary of the Newry Hunt.
An article from Edwin Bryson on the Bicentenary of the Newry Hunt.

The story of Hughie Ferris’s goat, whether fact or fiction, and Johnny Minnis’s sharp riposte to a bumptious American officer are recalled in an article on the impact of the 1935-45 war locally, while 87-year old Peter Campbell’s memories of a lifetime working on the Newry Canal, recorded 40 years ago, evoke a time long gone.

Eminent Lurgan historian, Frank McCorry, has describe  this edition of ‘Before I forget …’ as ‘exquisite … prize-winning …. a very special journal  in content, format and presentation.’  

The Journal costs £10 and is available from the following outlets: Fiveways Supermarket, Newry; Fane Valley Stores; Bolton Filling Station; GM Tyres Tandragee,; Fegan’s Farm Shop, and Spar Loughbrickland; Lakeview Country Stores; G.A. Allen Glasker; Trainor’s Spar, O’Malley’s Farm Sho, and Petty Sessions Coffee Shop in Poyntzpass.

It may also be ordered by contacting the Society by email at: barbarabest100@hotmail.com  or helena.gamble@btinternet.com

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