New read on ‘The Bard of Mallusk’

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MALLUSK Community Action Group (MCAG) has published an information booklet about the life and works of the late William Morrison - the man known as The Bard of Mallusk.

The community group’s latest heritage project, completed with financial assistance from Newtownabbey Borough Council, aims to ensure that The Bard’s works are not forgotten, and can be enjoyed by future generations.

Born in July 1881, William (Billy) Morrison was a gifted poet and nature lover who penned moving accounts about his local area, which at that time was mostly open countryside.

The Bard was a keen amateur journalist and cycled to events as a reporter and had many articles and poems published by the East Antrim Times and other newspapers.

Morrison, who was a devotee of Scottish poet Robert Burns, retired to Rosevale Cottage, where Mallusk Play Area is today, and lived there until his death in the 1970s.

The new publication - The Life & Works of William Morrison ‘The Bard of Mallusk’ - was researched and written by MCAG representative Barry Macaulay. It includes details about Morrison’s life and examples of some of his finest poems.

Mr Macaulay revealed that MCAG is hoping to rename the play park on Mallusk Road in memory of William Morrison, and publish his poems to ensure his writings are enjoyed by future generations.

Describing much of The Bard’s poetry as “great social history pieces”, Mr Macaulay said: “I came across William Morrison when writing the Mallusk history publication ‘Our Thoughts Go Back Again’ last year. I found his story and poetry very inspiring as he wrote about the loss of rural Mallusk and the arrival of the Michelin factory in the 1960s, which although brought employment, was the beginning of the end for Mallusk as a rural village.

“His writing is still relevant today as developments, landfill sites and scrapyards continue to threaten to destroy the green areas that remain in Mallusk. There are still some lovely green areas and river walks and MCAG are trying to protect these from destruction.”

The booklet has already been distributed to 600 homes in the Mallusk/Hydepark area, but some copies are still available by emailing malluskcag@yahoo.co.uk