A message of gratitude to all who helped or took part on the occasion of the opening of the Maghera Historical Society Heritage and Cultural centre, from the Chairman of the Maghera Historical society, Joseph McCoy.
As I stand here, I think back to our beginnings. A few sat around the turf fire talking about the viability of a history society and the benefits that it would have for Maghera. The question itself is quite a good one, and the answer itself is not refined to just one reply; the historic interest which accompanies this …great town of Rath Lurach and it’s surrounding areas are infectious and fascinating.
What most people don’t understand is the importance that any Town, Village, suburb, or even city holds with historical interest, because every aspect of life interacts with history. This fine building which is being opened today is a landmark in the history of the town itself. The opening of the Heritage and cultural centre means that anyone who has travelled from abroad, now has a port of call as well as for the inquisitive wonderer who wants to find points of interest which have been difficult to find in the past around the area i.e. The Tirnoney dolman, or the Knockoneil court tomb, and other historical and archaeological points of significance.
Also to those who are searching for ancestors, the centre will be an amazing archive of information and research, helping those with a burning desire to find a past event or person, as well as the fact that the centre will be fully equipped to record oral histories. As well as having public access to computers in the near future, we shall also host lectures and talks. Ladies and gentlemen, exciting times lie ahead and what the society can offer new members in itself is impressive as well as the given opportunity to learn something new about your local area and also contribute to it as well.
I would also like to say that I feel humbled and honoured to have known some of the late great historians who have passed on and to acknowledge their great contribution to the historical success of this ancient town.
I would like to thank Mary Delargy of the linen hall library, an institution in itself which is steeped in history, a fitting start to the day.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the secretary, James Armour for the great amount of experience he has brought to the fore; and our Vice Chairman Denver Boyd and Izy whose experience have made our website one of the best I have ever seen. And to our wonderful committee, Pat and Annette Rafferty, Brendan Convery, Kevin Daly, Bruce Clark, John Marquess, our treasurer, and Peter Etherson whom we wish well and Moira.
Finally to all the great people who came to Maghera in their vintage tractors and cars and to the wonderful people with their beautiful horses who gave the people a step back in time, and to those who came to support our opening day.