Saturday, 23 October 2021

Sketches of Olden Days

I usually visit Coleraine, County Londonderry, one of my favourite towns, several times a year.

There's a little book-shop tucked up a little street - Society Street - close to the parish church, which sells vintage books among other items.

On one occasion, I think in 2015, I found a small hardback book written in 1927, six years after the formation of Northern Ireland.

Click To Enlarge

It was by the Rev Canon Hugh Forde, with a forward by the Rt Hon Sir James Craig Bt (later 1st Viscount Craigavon), first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

Hugh Forde was born in Londonderry in 1847, educated at Dungannon Royal School, County Tyrone, and Trinity College, Dublin, where he achieved a master's degree and a doctorate.

The Roamer column in the Newsletter newspaper remarks that, following curacies in Macosquin and Maghera, Hugh became Rector in Kilcronaghan, Ballynascreen, and Tamlaght Finlagan (Ballykelly) successively before becoming a Canon of St Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry, from 1897 to 1922.

He had five children, including Kathleen, during his first marriage to Mary Ross from Limavady.

After Mary died he married Dorothea Millar from Buncrana, in 1884, and had three more children, one of whom, Lieutenant Kenneth Forde, was killed in action in Flanders on the 24th July, 1915, during the 1st World War.

Canon Forde retired to Portrush, County Antrim, in 1922 where he remained until his death in 1929.

He wrote and published four books: Round the Coast of Northern Ireland; Ulster at Bay; The Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle; and Sketches of Olden Days in Northern Ireland.

I heartily concur with Lord Craigavon when he wrote:
In commending these brilliant sketches to the people of Ulster, and to visitors to our shores, I do so with all the more pleasure, although our native country is teeming with historical interest and is well supplied with ancient monuments, suitable books of reference are comparatively few. 
Canon Forde has done a public service in compiling so accurate a record of Olden Days, and providing an interesting glimpse of the life led by Ulstermen of bygone times.
Seek it out if you can.

First published in July, 2016.


Anonymous said...

You can read the book at this link:

Anonymous said...

Forde also wrote "Round the Coast of Northern Ireland", published in 1928.

A new book "Round the Hidden Coast of Northern Ireland From A to Z" has just been published by David Leslie.

The book revisits many of the locations written about by Forde 90 years ago and is available in paperback or as an ebook excusively through Amazon.