Castlerock’s history in focus

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There was a good turnout for the annual general meeting of Causeway U3A in Portstewart Golf Club.

Outgoing Chairperson Jerry Sayers informed members that incoming Vice Chairperson Keith Brown had agreed to stand-in for new Chairperson Clare Carter until the latter returns from a period of illness.

After officers’ reports had been received and election formalities conducted, Keith Brown extended members’ thanks to Jerry Sayers for his sterling service to Causeway U3A.

Guest speaker John Moore then gave a fascinating talk on the history of Castlerock.

Early in the 19th century villages existed at Downhill and Articlave but there was no Castlerock. There was a ferry operated by three ferrymen across the Bann at the Barmouth and the famous Hazlett House had been there since 1611. The village, named after large rocks on the beach which from the seaward side resembled a castle, began to develop after 1853 when the Coleraine to Derry railway arrived and local landowner Sir Harvey Bruce was responsible for much of that development.

By the end of the century, Castlerock had the two churches it has today, a school and the piers at the Barmouth had been constructed to improve navigation into and out of the river. The village’s fine railway station, designed by Sir John Lanyon had been built between 1873 and 1875.