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16 October 2014
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Larne -
Valerie Beattie takes a walk down memory lane

Looking back I can still remember the excitement I felt as my mum and I waited for the Larne bus.


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Larne - Valerie Beattie takes a walk down memory lane

Article submitted by Alison Kane

Looking back I can still remember the excitement I felt as my mum and I waited for the Larne bus. It was Wednesday morning and I was on my school holidays. We lived at Bellahill just a mile outside Ballycarry. The bus stop was just in front of our house and many people gathered and chatted while they waited for the bus to arrive. I remember the bus conductor was always very kind helping anyone with prams or walking difficulties. People seemed to have more time then.

The day out was always such a treat for me and and I was always sure to get a little treat of some kind. The market was wonderful. Lots of different stalls very colourful people shouting, selling their wares. Everything could be bought at Larne market. Quite often we came home with bags full of fruit and vegetables, bed linen and other bits and bobs.

Quite often as a special treat we would go up the Main Street to Rosses Café. I can still remember the smell of the home baked scones and fresh coffee. Even yet when I smell freshly ground coffee I am transported back to those lovely treats at Rosses.

After coffee our next stop was at the other end of the street. My mum's favourite shop was Tweedie Acheson. Lots of beautiful things could be bought there, lovely coats, dresses, hats, stockings and very fine jewellery. The most interesting bit about the shop for me was when it came time to pay for your purchases the lady behind the counter put your money into a small tin box which hung on a wire near the ceiling. She then pulled the handle and it made a ping sound and disappeared to return a few minutes later with your change. At five years of age this just seemed like magic to me.

Very often before my mother left for home she would call in at the Auction Market. I remember one day the weather was bad so she decided to spend time in the auction until it cleared. However the visit ended with her buying a three piece suite. When she got home and told my father what she had done he laughed and said 'Bett goes to the market to get some fruit and comes home with a three piece suite'. Thank goodness he was a very understanding man with a good sense of humour. The suite turned out to be a very good buy and we had it for many years.

Mum must have passed on her love of auctions to me as it is still one of my favourite pastimes. Looking back on those wonderful visits to Larne I wonder where the years have gone.

My mother and I often chat about our day trips and how warm and kindly we were treated in the shops. People had time for a chat and a laugh. We lost a lot when we lost the small shops. Let's hope we can hold onto what is left of them.

Larne is still a great town with good hearted people. It has been great for me to take a walk down memory lane and share some old memories with my mother.

Special thanks goes to the Larne Millennium Initiative for its help in sourcing this story.


Your responses to this article:

Glen Brown - Jan '06
Hi Ellen,
Back in 60s my Larne friends and I met regularly upstairs in The Floral especially on Wednesday nights. To dine and await Shaun McCauley (RIP) or Billy Weekes selling us the early copy of 'The Larne Times'. Does that service still happen today in any of Larnes bars and numerous eating places? Regarding your request July 05, (sorry, better late than never). Please email me at; I'll reply with some personal memories of 'The Floral Cafe' in the 60s.

Ellen Magill - July '05
I would love to hear more about Crawford Magill's "the floral'. I was interested to read your memories.

Glen Brown - May 05
A good memory of Larne by Alison. Made me think of the many eating places in the town even back in the Swinging 60s Including Rosses Cafe, The Bamboo (Des & Jean Agnew), The Floral (Crawford Magill), The Bonnie Bouche' (Tommy Wilson, where a Radio Caroline Fan Club ran upstairs for a couple of years almost secretly), the Rendezvous, The Silver Lounge (still a good place to dine), The Barnhill, The Step Inn and Tommy Liddles Station Road Cafe' (I like the titles on the menu there).

I concur with Alison's sentiments on the people of Larne Borough being on the whole good hearted.


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