Other forms of entertainment

Around Doagh, Holestone Young Farmers’ Club was very popular. Billy Robson joined this club when he was 12 or 13. He describes it as ‘a tremendous organisation’. Billy also drew attention to an earlier organisation with similar aims that was formed in Kilbride with Mr Spence, the teacher, instrumental in its creation.

Mary Moore remembers taking part in the stock-judging competitions, evaluating hens and cattle. Tom Andrew also belonged to this club and he recalls the public-speaking competitions and the amateur dramatics.

Dances and ceilidhs were also popular. Sarah McTrustry remembered the dance hall in Doagh which she went to every Saturday night. On one night she could not get in because she had no money and so some young men from Antrim pulled her in through the window. For anyone living near Whitehead, or indeed from much further afield, the Rinkha was the place to go on a Saturday night. It was here that Wilma Shaw met her husband. Mary Ann Higgins attended ceilidhs in Toome and Moneyglass. She walked to them unless offered a ‘lift on the bars of a man’s bike if you were lucky’. Matt Quinn went to ceilidhs in the evenings, some of which were in the open air, such as at Creggan where a wooden platform would be erected on the grass. Maureen McMeel met her husband Owen at a ceilidh.

William Andrew Turkington remembers the singers in Cogry when he was young. Mr Spence, the principal of Kilbride school, would stop his car to listen to them: ‘He reckoned there were more tenors in Cogry than in any other village in Northern Ireland. They were good, boy, there’s no doubt about it.’ The singers would sing until the early hours of the morning.

Cahal Boyd remembered an old man named Quigley coming from Portgleone to Moneyglass to teach Irish dancing in an old World War I army hut beside the chapel. The same man would have taken them to a Feis at Newbridge. Cahal was also involved in a number of cultural activities focused on Moneyglass. George Laverty was also involved in the drama group at Moneyglass, starting when he was 16. He points out that one of the leading figures in it was a Ballycastle tailor called Richard Mooney whose claim to fame was that he had made a suit for Roger Casement.

Cahal Boyd talks about the Moneyglass drama club and concert troupe:

When I was 18 we started the first Moneyglass drama club. Then we started Toome Easter festival in Toome fair. Then we bought and fixed Moneyglass community centre. And then we went on to Moneyglass concert troupe. And the Moneyglass concert troupe travelled Ireland, England, Scotland and America and made a lot of friends.

South Antrim Living Memories Project wishes to acknowledge the assistance of: