Memories of Captain Street by the McCauley family

The McCauley family with two German visitors. From left to right, Hannah, Mary, Nora, Ruth, Shann holding John, Brendan, Aaron and Mum Angela holding Patrick.
The McCauley family with two German visitors. From left to right, Hannah, Mary, Nora, Ruth, Shann holding John, Brendan, Aaron and Mum Angela holding Patrick.

The recent demolition work at Lower Captain Street in Coleraine has caught the attention of many people in the town.

And now some former residents of that area of Coleraine have contacted the Coleraine Times, reminiscing about their happy memories of raising a family on Captain Street.

From left to right, Hannah, David, Patrick, Isaac, Jacob and a neighbour called Miss Sinclair and mum Angela McCauley.

From left to right, Hannah, David, Patrick, Isaac, Jacob and a neighbour called Miss Sinclair and mum Angela McCauley.

Brendan McCauley who now lives in Portaferry share some photos of the family’s times in Captain Street and wrote:

“I am see sad photos on our family WhatsApp - Captain Street, Coleraine, being razed to the

ground by a big angry digger. I well remember sitting with my young kids in number 14 Lower Captain Street teaching them, Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, Couldn’t put Humpty together again. And now we can’t put Captain Street together again.

“Yet there’s something very precious that big hungry digger can’t take away and that’s the memories of eleven happy years in that wonderful community. My wife Angela and I and two children came to Coleraine for three years in 1975 and ended up staying for 23 and having another twelve children. Must be something in the air in Coleraine! I also finished the English degree I came for.

The demolition work at Lower Captain Street. Picture courtesy of David Boyle.

The demolition work at Lower Captain Street. Picture courtesy of David Boyle.

“We spent twelve years in Abbey Street and when we outgrew that home we moved West of the Bann to Captain Street. Best move ever! Big warm dry house with six bedrooms, a big safe garden and nearness to schools. We loved the cherry trees in springtime and the kids loved playing near the Victorian water fountain beside our door.

“We had great neighbours, McCuskers on one side McIlreavys on the other. You could have set your clock by cheery Mrs Duffy walking across town for her daily shopping. Friendly Herbie McCann delighted us with his candid black and white photographs of our kids. “How are you young McCauley?” he’d call to me.

“Joe and Tessie Fleming lived in Churchill Park at the back of our garden. Joe, a great storyteller, was the only man I knew who owned a horse. My wife Angela enjoyed the handy nearby shops: a warm scone from the home bakery, The Coleraine Times from Leo Mullan’s and milk and honey from Mr Beattie’s. “Anything else?” he’d always say.

“And further down the street in the Waterside, the best pizza in the whole world from Boris at The Pizzeria Pomodoro. And just around the corner The Mary Rankin Maternity Home, a lovely place for having babies. And all our children, healthy trout swimming around our feet, rushing up and down each day to St. John’s Primary School, the names of teachers always on their tongues - Mr and Mrs McMacken, Mrs Bakewell, Sister Olive, Sister Geraldine and Mrs Jack.

Three boys in the Captain Street garden with Churchill Park in the background. From left to right, John, David and Patrick.

Three boys in the Captain Street garden with Churchill Park in the background. From left to right, John, David and Patrick.

“My wife Angela also graduated from Coleraine University and over the years as we’ve proudly watched all our fourteen children graduate from the world’s top universities we’ve always been thankful for our warm dry home in Captain Street, the welcoming town of Coleraine and the army of hardworking teachers who invested so much into our family.

“God bless you Coleraine and Captain Street. May you prosper from good management from a wise council. Keep up the good work.”