It was “back to the future” in Ballybofey and Stranorlar last Monday, as well over 100 enthusiasts took part in the biggest-ever historical tour of the towns. The event, part of National Heritage Week, was organised by the recently formed Ballybofey, Stranorlar and District Historical Society.
The walk began at Jackson’s Hotel and took in almost every site of interest between the hotel and the Church of Ireland graveyard at the other end of Stranorlar. Participants heard of old farming practices, markets, commercial establishments, schools, forms of entertainment, churches, the railway, famous and infamous characters and the ways world events affected local people. Many stories threw new light on the lives of the towns’ inhabitants in past centuries.
Speakers included society chairman, Aubrey Oliver; vice-chairman, Kenneth Whelan; members Tony Gallinagh, Pat Holland, Ivan Knox, Connie Duffy and guest speakers George Magee and Paddy Bonner. Joe Gallagher, county council heritage officer, also attended.
The two-and-a-half hour event culminated with a return to Jackson’s, where Barry and Margaret Jackson provided complimentary Irish coffee for all and where stories and historical chat continued. Aubrey Oliver thanked all who came along and said he hoped everyone had discovered something new. Kenneth Whelan encouraged anyone interested to attend the society’s next meeting at the Henderson Hall, Church Road, Stranorlar, at 8pm, Monday, Sept. 24th.