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16 October 2014
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Larne - A vintage port.

Larne in Co.Antrim is well known for its harbour and the ferry routes to Scotland and England, but there's a lot more to it.

Larne street scene

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On this website you can read or listen to local people's memories of the town and its history.

Birds eye view of Larne
Overview of Larne

Click here to listen to a 1994 Radio Ulster programme "Places Apart - Larne".

The Bardic ferry
The Bardic ferry

Short Sea Crossing by Ian Sinclair

For over 130 years Larne has been the Irish port for the Short Sea Crossing to Scotland. The service has a fascinating history and, in the days before regular air travel, was the route between Northern Ireland and London favoured by politicians and businessmen.

Click here to read the "Short Sea Crossing ."

Olderfleet Castle
Olderfleet Castle

A stroll through Larne by Brian Willis

Brian Willis took a walk around Larne to see what he could find. He talks about Electricity, Olderfleet castle, the boats and The Chaine Memorial Tower amongst others.

Click here to read "more about Larne."

Newspaper clipping from 1968
Newspaper clip

Larne Rugby Club memories from John Apsley

In 1968 Larne Rugby Club put wheels in motion to move their HQ from Sandy Bay to Glynn. A fifteen and a half acre site was purchased in Glynn which would accomodate 3 playing pitches and a large scale pavilion.

The purchase price was £8000 of which £1500 was paid immediately with the rest being raised from members.

Click here to read "more about the fund raising."

The Apsley shop
The Apsley shop

The end of an era for the Apsley shops

In 1990 George and Llewellyn Apsley retired from running their newsagency on Main Street, Larne.

This was the end of an era for the well known family business which traces its roots back to 1898. An era which saw six monarchs on the throne and two world wars on the international scene.

Click here to read "more about 'The Apsley shops'."

Drumalis House
Drumalis House

Drumalis - A Short History.

Tucked away in its own grounds in Larne is the magnificent and yet largely unknown Drumalis House. Originally built in the early 1800s by a wealthy third generation Scottish immigrant, Sir Hugh Smiley, the marvellous and revealing history of this house is only superseded by its stunning architecture and stylish interior decor, provided by the famous George Walton in the late 1800s. It has changed ownership only three times and now serves as a conference centre and retreat house.

Click here to read "more about Drumalis"

Tommy Shields
Tommy Shields

From Larne to Stalag and back again...

Larne man Tommy Shields, now well into his eighties, joined the Royal Navy in 1936. Life was wonderful in the Mediterranean Fleet until he was 'invited' to take part in the war in 1939. After suffering the rigours and freezing conditions of the Atlantic convoys he moved back to the Med where he was captured after the battle for Crete. Transported first to Stalag IIId in Berlin, he set out on a life of sabotage and escape wherever and whenever possible. He is probably unique in that he escaped back into camps almost as often as he escaped out of them.
Fortunately for us he kept a diary...

"Click here to read this amazing story"

Ignatius Reynolds
Ignatius Reynolds

Ignatious Reynolds talks about electricity, gas, shopping and childhood.

I was an electrician. Larne was allegedly one of the first towns in Ireland to have street lighting. There used to be a big pole in front of Dan Campbells and apparently there was a big Arkwright and that was the first street lighting.

The electricity was supplied by a well known business man, entrepreneur you might call him now, Billy Crawford he owned the electricity mains, it was privately owned. Believe it or not the electricity in Larne was made from generators from German U Boats....

Click here to read "Ignatious Reynolds's full story"

Primary school photo
Primary school photo

Billy Burns - An Education.

Fifty years ago I was a second form pupil at Larne Grammar School at a time when the effects of the 1948 Education Act were just being felt and the school was experiencing an increase in numbers thanks to the "new" scholarship system which was universally known as the Qualifying Exam.

Even so there were just about three hundreds pupils in the school, hosted in a complex which included the Old School House, part of which was still occupied by the Headmaster and his family and the main block of classrooms erected in the 1940s.

Click here to read "Billy Burns's full story"

Nurses from Larne area hospital
Nurses from Larne area hospital

Golden Memories of Larne by Dr Betty Orr.

I came to Larne in July 1945 to act as a junior medical doctor under Dr Tom Killen and being a very raw and newly qualified doctor it was only after about two years that he told me I was beginning to be useful!! Larne District Hospital, as it was known at that time, was a very sleepy place and there was little work to be done. The patients were mostly medical cases and so Dr Killen was only called on to perform an occasional appendectomy or similar operation. I acted as the anaesthetist and the patients survived - so I must not have been too bad!!

Click here to read "Betty Orr's full story"

McNeills Hotel
McNeills Hotel

Memories and Tourism By Tommy Shields

There was a time there would be maybe 10 coaches sitting outside McNeills Hotel for English people who had come for tours. They were horse drawn like buses, with 10 people up top and 10 people down below and pulled by 2 horses. A brake they called it. It took people down the coast. I remember all the jaunting cars lined up outside the hotel and the Charabangs.

Click here to read "Tommy Shields's full story"

Mill workers
Mill workers

Memories from Isa Lilley

My mother worked in Browns factory as a weaver. At the back of the factory were the furnaces where the firemen had kept the fires going. It was Larne weaving factory. She had 2 looms which I remember because I worked there too. A lot of people came from the Ballymena area to work in it.

Click here to read "Isa Lilley's full story"

Royal crest
Royal crest

Memories of Coronation Year 1953 by Kathleen Alexander.

Coronation Year 1953 brought quite a bit of excitement to Larne as the drab days of restrictions and rationing following the 2nd World War were at last behind us. As a girl guide with 2nd Larne Company I was part of a massed rally at Balmoral show grounds Belfast when our new young Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh came to Northern Ireland as part of their tour of the United Kingdom.

Click here to read "Kathleen Alexander's full story"

Early 1900's postcard of Main Street
Postcard of Main Street

Memories by Leititia Humphrys.

Leititia came to Larne in 1958 where she worked as a home help, school dinner lady and school caretaker. She also worked in the Edenderry Spinning Mill on the Crumlin Road.

Click here to read "Leititia Humphrys's full story"

The Chaine Tower
The Chaine Tower

Memories by Rose Malcolmson

I joined the ATS on my birthday 4 March 1942 and I trained in Ballymena at St Patrick's barracks. After my training I was posted to Fleetwood in Lancashire. I worked in a big cookhouse and made sandwiches up for the soldiers. I made a lot of good friends there. The uniform was khaki jackets, skirts an overcoat and big heavy boots. Then I got posted again near Durham But my mother wasn't well at home so I came back to Larne and was stationed at the Shore front. Then I was posted again and was stationed in Brussells and I was there for over a year. Brussells was a lovely place.

Click here to read "Rose Malcolmson's full story"

Larne coat of arms
Larne coat of arms

Dick has lived all his life in Larne and tells of celebrations in the Town Park

3,500 children - 500 of them from rural schools, paraded to the Town Park in the afternoon of the Coronation. Eight local bands led the children from the assembly point at Victoria Road to the Park. Then the schools were organised into various positions on the football pitch before the proceedings were opened by the Mayor of Larne, Alderman C Ross.

Click here to read "Dick's full story"

Early 1900's picture of the Laharna Hotel
The Laharna Hotel

Memories by Annie Shields

I am the same age as the Queen. I lived in Carrickfergus at the time of the coronation. I worked in Alexander's when I came to Larne and worked in the toy department for 15 years. I got to know a lot of people in the town. My husband worked in Blue Circle I remember going to parties at the Laharna Hotel and at that time they would let you stay the night.


Christmas hamper
Christmas hamper

Tommy Seymour and the 'Tech Old Boys.

When I came from sea I rejoined the 'Tec Old Boys, I was one of the people who founded the Tec old Boys. Every Christmas the 'Tech Old Boys always supplied between 15 - 20 Christmas hampers to various pensioners and more often than not when you did go with the hampers you discovered you were the second or third person there. So I resolved at that time if I ever got the opportunity to start an organisation that would save more equitable distribution I would do it.

Click here to read "Tommy Seymour's full story"

Larne Main Street in 2003
Larne Main Street in 2003

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. 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.

Click here to read "Valerie Beattie's full story"

Kilwaughter Castle Gates
Kilwaughter Castle Gates

Larne Roots from "The History Man"

"The History Man" remembers that his maternal grandmother whose maiden name was Jane Ogilby came from Kilwaughter. His grandfather, William Hopkins came from a place called "The Hollow" in Islandmagee. Larne was the closest market town to both these townlands so of course they knew a lot about it. .

Click here to read "more about The History man's roots."

Amanda McKittrick Ros
Amanda McKittrick Ros

Amanda McKittrick Ros- "The worlds worst author"

Amanda - or to give her the full pen name she adopted... Amanda Malvina Fitzalan Anna Margaret McClelland McKittrick Ros.was born near Ballynahinch in 1860. She married a railway official fifteen years her senior when she was twenty and lived with him in Larne.

She has the dubious accolade of being regarded as The worlds worst author.

Click here to read "more about Amanda McKittrick Ros"


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