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16 October 2014
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Larne -
childhood memories

Deirdre Castle returned to Larne after 40 years and found some of the memories she had as a child still remain

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I was born in the Moyle Hospital in 1944 and spent a number of years with my grandparents James and Eileen Beggs who lived in Dunluce House, Upper Cairncastle Road. I last visited Larne about 5 years ago after an absence of 40 years and was delighted to see that it had not changed very much and I immediately felt at home.

I have many memories from the fifties. The shops I remember best are Shannons the grocers, Mrs. Ross's who sold fantastic sponge cakes. Her shop/cafe was at the top of Main Street nearly opposite the Northern Bank and Tweedy Acheson, where my mother used to take me to buy things such as socks, vests and liberty bodices (!) which were all neatly laid out in drawers which were taken out and brought to the counter to choose what we wanted. I particularly liked the little container which whizzed round the store to the cashier and brought the change back.

Tweedy Acheson was not far from the Laharna Hotel. I also remember a sweet shop but can't remember the name but it was run by a very old lady who used to appear from behind some velvet curtains when the bell rang in the shop to let her know she had a customer. I well recall the fusty smell the shop had.

My brother and I remember our grand mother used to take us for a treat to the Regal Cinema and then to Bonougli's ice cream parlour (I am sure spelt wrongly) for an ice cream soda. We also used to enjoy a trip in the little boat from Larne Harbour to Islandmagee and cycling over Bruston Brae to Drains Bay and Ballygally for picnics.

Trips to Larne were usually started with sea sickness on the Stranraer steamer!


John McCrea - Apr '07
I am trying to trace a Thomas Norrell who lives in Larne (Glynn Road) he had a web site called Genaholic this is a family tree site.
after emailing him it was returned as the site is no longer up & running, I dont know if he has another site but i would like to talk to him and ask some advise on my family tree matters.
over the years we exchanged lots of emails and one was of my last visit to Larne 2006 and I went to Queen Street, he then told me I was close to his house in Glynn Road.
so if anybody can help me with my search could you please pass on my email address to him, or email me and I will give you my address and telephone numbers.
Very many thanks to all

Beth (Bee) Rand nee Surgenor - Apr '07
Hi Betty, I hope you are still looking in on this great site, it has been a while since I have looked at it so am just getting your message now. It is great to hear from you again, I am now married and in Victoria, Canada this past four years, we will be visiting Larne in June and July of this year, this will be my first time back in the four years I have been away so I am looking forward to it. If you see this message please email me at bethrand at shaw dot ca

Jacqueline McGorrian - Mar '07
I said i would add a comment considering it was my uncle who published the article!!!!!!!!

Elsa Wills - Mar '07
What a lovely surprise to come across these memories of Larne! I was born in Larne in 1939 'at the head of the town' as it was known, in Albert Street. I played in the Grammar Field, went for walks on the Ballymena Line, scared myself by walking past the gypsies at the top of Mill Brae on the way to Anteville, and went to the Girls Bathing Boxes at the shore. My best friend at school was Marea Stewart she lived on Gardenmore Place (I think).
My sisters and I went to St. Mary's School, and then to St. Dominics in Belfast. My brothers attended the local boy's school (I forget the name) and then Larne Tech.
My Grandmother and Aunt lived on Glynn Road, their names were Emily and Peggy Campbell. I have a cousin Lorna Beggs, nee Campbell living in Larne.
I would love to hear from others who lived in Larne in the 1940's and who share some of the same memories.
I came accross this site when I was searching for the meaning of 'Loanin' or 'Lonnin' ---as in Lab's Loanin, or Paddy's Loanin. Does anyone remember those places?
I shall return to this site for more memories and await the publication of "The Larne Yarn" with interest.

Iris King - Aug '06
Hi Sheena, remember you as a little girl and visiting you all in Gloucester Ave. Where are you now? Let me know when you next visit Larne. Regards Iris

Sheena Geysen (nee Burns) - Aug '06
I'm just catching up with all the old reminiscences of Larne. I left in 1968 and have been back once (in 1998) and I was saddened to see the town park facilities in a poor state. I remember Sunday afternoons with a band playing in the band stand, men playing checkers and chess, pitch and put on the lovely green turf. We used to roll our hard-boiled easter eggs down the Bank heads and hurtle down after them.
I remember Cassy Donelly's shop on Old Glenarm Road well. I would go there just for the wonder of watching her deft (and to me, magical) abilities with the jars and the money. She wore little round glasses with dark blue lenses, if I remember.
Hi Iris King. My uncle was Sam Sittlington, son of George. I've happy memories of summer holidays at Dixon Park, having the run of the beautiful grounds to myself when my Uncle was gardener there.

Glen Brown - July '06
The wee shop I recall, as myself and Larne friends including, Esler Burke, Len McClure (USA), Gerry McCarry, Peter Somerville (ScoT0, Uel Burns (RIP), Heather Connor, Pat Bailey and a host of others from Larne often cylced to and played together at Drains Bay during the summers of the mid 60s. The G.G, summer camp was another local attraction for boys. Over the years having collected over four hundred pictorial postcards C1890 to present of Larne Borough there were a couple that were commissioned by the shop and have that message printed on the back of the postcards. I donated my collection to Larne Museum in 2004. Sadly, due to insufficent space the postcards like many other items donated by others may never be viewed by those interested. However I am sure a timely application request to the museum may achieve the possibility to view them from the archives.
If I can help regarding same please contact me as I will be making my next visit to Larne on 25 Aug 2006
Yours in friendship,
Glen Brown

Sarah M. Jenkins - July '06
Hi there, I too remember Tweedy Achesons, My friend Wilma Buckley worked in the office collecting the 'money trolley'. Hi there Wilma, wish I could have a chat with you. I also remember Pepi Bon??????? ice creams . What has happened to the 'Laharna'?. Last time I saw it, it was spooky and in ruin. I do not agree, that Larne looks the same as in the 60's, I think it needs a lot of love and attention. Larne has so much potential, so go on and show it off. Regards Sarah

Iris King - June '06
In response to Philip Brownlow who I don't remember but I remember Ivan Brownlow as a little boy. I remember Frank Brownlow very well and the many trips I had on his pony and trap. My Grandfather was George Sittlington and he was gardener for Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon and Sir William Chaine before them. They lived in the lodge at the entrance to Carnfunock Park.

Philip Brownlow - June '06
My grandfather, Frank Brownlow moved to larne from Ballymoney. He was land steward on Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon's ground at Carnfunnock for many years. My elder brother Ivan spent most of his early years on the farm. Ivan has worked on the family tree to send out to our brother in New Zealand. Any info would be gratefully accepted.

Iris King - June '06
Hi Folks Lovely to hear your memories of old Larne. I worked in Tweedy Achesons and wish I had a pound for every time I used that money trolley. My name is Iris King nee Kerr born and raised in Drains Bay where my parents owned a general store. Has anyone any memories? Would love to hear from you. By the way someone mentioned the sweetie shop beside Tweedies, was it a Mrs Nesbitt that owned it?

David and Ruth Holland - Dec '05
Very interested Deirdre to read your memories of Larne especially Dunluce House. We moved from Carrickfergus to Dunluce House in 1999. I am however from Islandmagee originally and used to travel to Larne every day on the ferry boat to school. I also well remember getting school uniform in Tweedy Achesons - some of which never fitted - my mum believed in buying it big enough to grow into! We are still working on renovating Dunluce House-6 years on! We'd be very interested to hear any memories you have of our house in particular.

Glen Brown - Sep 05
HI Danny,
How is your "The Larne Yarn" book coming along?
Any chance of a preview to

Alan McGorrian - Aug 05
I was born in The Moyle Hospital in !958 and left Larne in 1974. I remember Tweedy Achesons, Apsley's, and many other shops of great character about the town. But surely Cassy Donnelly's on the OLd Glenarm Road was unique. Cassy was an old blind lady who ran the shop on her own. She identified the different coins by touch and new the notes by their various sizes. Cassy memorised where every item was kept Behind the counter were a row of sweety jars. she would count from right to left in order to find the sweets requested. Clove rock were number six... Lovely

Eric Glover - August '05
Good memories Deirdre! The ice cream place was the Rendevous I am sure. Just along from the Regal on the same side. I do not get back often but always enjoy it when I do return. I retire on 31st August so have no excuse now about finding the time!

Glen Brown - June '05
Regarding Danny Boy - June' 05 from Glen Brown

I am interested in reading your forth coming book " The Larne Yarn" be it, fiction, non fiction or a bit of both? As you are in where there is at least one Larnarian whom I know. There being many others with relatives still living in Larne Borough. I am sure, they like me, may also be interested in reading your book when published. I will be watching HERE for its publishing and release date.

Danny Boy - June '05
I'm a Larne boy now in Oz and not been back since 78.

I have often told my children about Tweedy Acheson's and the joy that it used to bring watching the transaction take place.

Looking back and reminiscing, it's now even more remarkable that Larne and Tweedy Acheson had invented the "ANALOGUE" Internet Banking all those years ago. And it actually worked!

Watch out for my book "The Larne Yarn" which I hope to complete someday. - I'm sure the content wouldn't come as a surprise most folks.



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