Doagh Ancestry Group, with its partners in Toome and Whitehead, has launched a book and website, featuring local people’s memories of the early years of the 20th century,
The “3 Villages Living Memories Project” has placed on record memories of contributors from these districts and surrounding areas.
The book, entitled “South Antrim Living Memories”, was launched last Wednesday and videos posted on website: www.southantrimlivingmemories.co.uk.
The programme, which was launched last October, was funded by GROW South Antrim for funding under Axis 3 of the current Rural Development Programme with match funding provided by Newtownabbey Borough Council; Antrim Borough Council and Carrickfergus Borough Council.
The project involved local volunteers interviewing almost 50 people who have long connections with their communities.
It was initiated by Doagh Ancestry Group. TIDAL (Toome Industrial Development, Amenities and Leisure Group) and Whitehead Community Centre.
The “3 Villages Living Memories Project” has been described as “an exciting, challenging, worthwhile and enjoyable initiative which has proved to be of great benefit to those communities involved” as well as “an invaluable resource for those wishing to learn more about the social and economic conditions of life within their communities during the early and mid-20th century.
The project has been driven by the commitment of volunteers and funding has enabled the employment of researcher and co-ordinator, Dr. William Roulston, of the Ulster Historical Foundation.
Volunteers say that the compilation of a book, website, roll-up exhibition and making of a series of videos has taught them much about “the importance of clear, concise, visually attractive and easily accessible written and visual information”.
The volunteers who shared and recorded the interviewees’ stories and experiences say that they were “deeply moved and are determined to continue to build on the wonderful resource” and believe that there is an “urgent need for the collection and preservation of these memories for future generations”.
Tribute was paid to three contributors who have since passed away - Robert McConnell, of Doagh; Cahal Boyd, of Toome and Paddy O’Donnell, from Whitehead.
Copies of the book can be obtained from members of Doagh Ancestry Group and will soon be available at local distribution points in the area. Similar arrangements will be made in Toome and Whitehead.
An exhibition of the project will be staged in each of the villages after Christmas.