Portrush Heritage Group’s ‘Heritage Day’ was a great success with upwards of 250 people attending throughout the day.
The crowds came throughout the day to the Ramada Hotel, where the event was being hosted last Saturday.
Great interest was shown in the various exhibits and displays including panels on The Giant’s Causeway Tramway, The Abbey of Portrush and artefacts uncovered in Antrim Gardens, Passenger Shipping, Arriving by Train, Charabancs & Omnibuses, Magnus Barefoot (Viking Invader), Tavish Dhu (Pirate Off Portrush) & Mary Murphy (Portrush Giantess).
The video display of over 100 images of old Portrush caught the attention of many visitors. The exhibits and displays triggered many memories for locals and visitors alike, and generated much discussion and reminiscence.
An exhibition of old show, theatre and dance hall posters brought back many memories of great nights out. An exhibit of old group photographs resulted in many of the people in them being identified and named which greatly enhances the historical value of such images.
The primary function of the day was to encourage people to bring in any images, artefacts and reminiscences that they may have of Portrush so that these could be recorded for preservation. This proved to be a great success, way beyond the organisers’ wildest dreams. Many hundreds of images – postcards, photographs and paintings – arrived for scanning and recording and the team of Portrush Heritage Group volunteers dealing with these was kept very busy throughout the full six hours of public access and for some time thereafter.
Considerable work is still to be done in cataloguing the images and many more are still to be scanned as some of the collections offered on the day were just too big to handle in the time available. Many interesting artefacts were offered for photographing and recording and some were even donated to form the core of the Portrush Heritage Group Archive Collection.
Several visitors called with the Family History group with interesting information which was recorded. The Reminiscences Team were kept very busy recording oral reminiscences from local people and making arrangements to visit many more to make further recordings all of which will be transcribed and catalogued for future reference.
One highlight of the day was the official launch of local author Maurice McAleese’s new book “Echoes of Open Glory – Tales from Portrush and the 1951 Golf Championship”.
In attendance for the launch, and introduced by John McNally – Chair of Portrush Heritage Group, were Councillor George Duddy, Mayor of Coleraine; Hugh Clarke, President of Royal Portrush Golf Club; Wilma Erskine – Secretary/Manager Royal Portrush Golf Club; David Young – Past Captain RPGC and past winner of the North Of Ireland Open Amateur Golf Championship; Moyra McElderry – President of RPGC Ladies Branch, Angela Baird – Ladies Captain RPGC; and Anne Donaghy – Manager of The Ramada Hotel Portrush.
The Mayor and Hugh Clarke both spoke warmly of the new book and praised the work of Portrush Heritage Group in protecting, preserving and publicising the significant history and heritage of the Town.
Maurice McAleese then spoke about his new book and his memories of the 1951 Open Championship.