Rathcoole’s history goes online in new community archive

editorial image

Past and present residents of Rathcoole who want to reminisce about growing up in Northern Ireland’s largest housing estate can now access a unique archive chronicling life in the bustling Newtownabbey community.

Now available for the first time, the rare collection of literature and documentary films provides a glimpse into a significant chapter of Rathcoole’s history.

The archive is the work of former Rathcoole resident, community activist and documentary film-maker Roy Wallace.

Roy was a leader in the now defunct Rathcoole Self-Help Group which campaigned for the rights of Rathcoole’s population in the 1980s and 1990s.

He was also involved in the publication of the Self-Help Group’s periodical newsletter, Bahd News, which offered a voice to local residents who felt let down by mainstream elected representatives.

Bahd News remains the estate’s first and only community newsletter.

In addition, Roy was instrumental in the formation and management of the Newtownabbey Musicians’ Workshop, a popular outlet for up-and-coming bands.

Although Roy currently resides outside the UK, he still maintains close ties with Rathcoole. He stated: “This important body of work offers everyone, whether it is nostalgic residents, local historians, academics, schools or community groups a perspective on what was happening in the neighbourhood thirty years ago.

“It undoubtedly forms an important segment of Rathcoole’s historical, social and cultural heritage.”

The digital literature archive and film library can be accessed for a €10 donation via www.webvideocore.net. The video can also be accessed for free until the end of May by searching for ‘Rathcoole Goodbye,’ hosted by play.webvideocore.net.