Latest News from the Historians in Annaclone...

Annaclone Historical Society are quite a busy organisation so it can be hard to follow their progress throughout the year as we have a number of projects on going at any one time so please keep an eye on this page and we will try to keep you up-to-date as much as possible...

NEWS FLASHIveagh Publications launch new book

The new book contains a vast array of ghost stories from every county in Ulster.  

“Our members have experience in producing other publications mainly based in County Down but this is our first venture into the rest of Ulster”.


Ulster, like the rest of Ireland contains many ghostly tales and almost every castle claims to be haunted with at least one or more ghosts for example those at Carrickfergus, Narrow Water (Warrenpoint) and Doe Castle in Co. Donegal. Other ghostly tales involve some of our most famous buildings for example Crumlin Road Gaol, Springhill (Moneymore) and Lissan House, Cookstown.


The book also includes stories of the dreaded banshee, poltergeists and devil related tales and we journey back in time to retell the ancient mysteries and legends of Ulster including those of Finn McCool and the story of the Last Serpent of Ireland, ‘Lig na Paiste’, Co. Derry


Recently, this part of Ireland has become the location for the filming of the hit HBO Series ‘The Game of Thrones’.  Many of its locations have a ghostly past and are featured in this book for example, Tollymore Forest in County Down and the Dark Hedges in County Antrim where many people have claimed to have seen a ‘grey lady’ wander through the ancient beech trees.


​October 5, 


NEWS FLASH- Catherine O'Hare's descendants visit Ballybrick

Some of Catherine O'Hare's direct descendants are pictured at the site of her original birthplace. They were among a group of 35 Canadians who were visiting Co. Down as part of the twinning of Rathfriland and Armstrong, British Columbia. This was organised by Rathfriland Regeneration Group and our society were asked to participate.


The guests were given a conducted history tour of Ballybrick, Magheral and the Bronte Centre. Special thanks to the McGivern family who allowed us access to the site.

​October 8, 


NEWS FLASH- Graveyard Panels 

With the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund (NI),

Annaclone Historical Society have erected

six Graveyard Panels across Annaclone.


These are located at 1st and 2nd Presbyterian

Churches, Christ Church, Church of Ireland,

Old Ardbrin, St. Colman's and St. Mary's

Catholic Churches.


The work involved in collating all the names on

the headstones as well as the Design work was

very labour intensive.


Everyone has given us positive feedback on this

particular piece of work.

​July 1, 


NEWS FLASH- Emigration Book published 


Our latest publication describes how emigration has impacted on the area since the 18th Century. It contains numerous stories and examples of those people who left Annaclone and Drumballyroney over the years. 


Examples of such stories include Catherine O'Hare, Patrick Bronte, Thomas Mayne Reid and many others who made their mark across the world. The book gives reference to over 200 Surnames.

​November 9, 


​June 29, 2012

NEWS FLASH- New Ghost Story Book published 

Ireland has a rich history of ghost, banshee and fairy sightings all around the country and County Down is no exception.



This is the second compilation of such stories from Annaclone Historical Society. Our first book ‘The Unexplained in Co. Down’, published in 2011 sold out within a short period of time and is now out of print. Due to its success, the society decided to collate further stories and publish a second book and have included a limited number of stories from the first one. However, the vast majority of the stories will be new to the reader.



This publication focuses on County Down and areas which border the county for example Carlingford, County Armagh and Belfast. Once again we have concentrated on stories about people who have experienced paranormal activity in one form or another allowing the reader to experience these personal accounts first hand. Other stories have been passed down over the years by word of mouth or have been unearthed during research of old books and newspapers.


Our publication covers haunted buildings and places including Greencastle, the former sites of Downpatrick and Belfast Workhouses and haunted houses in Castlewellan, Annaclone, Ardglass and Banbridge. Our fairy stories range from fairy trees in the Mournes, sightings of fairy people in Hilltown and the Pooka from Kilkeel. We also provide stories of the dreaded banshee, the witch hare and devil related tales from across the county. We journey back in time to retell the story of the Lough Shannagh monster and the ‘Fairy Cat’ from Clough.  

​October 04, 


NEWS FLASH- Surname Book published 

The book, entitled 'Origins of County Down', contains references to over a thousand surnames that either originated within Co. Down, or are now prominent within the county.

Some of the names listed are unique to Co. Down, such as McCrickard, McCartan, Sawey, Rooney or McGivern. Rare names, such as Hannet or O'Haddy, are also mentioned.

Events that changed and influenced the demographic picture of Co. Down from the 13th Century onwards, such as the Viking and Norman invasions and the 17th Century British Plantations schemes, are mentioned as well, since many surnames were introduced in this way.

They include Fitzsimmons, Nugent and Savage (Norman derivation) and Cromie, Harshaw and Tweedy (Scottish and English origins.)

​May 18, 


NEWS FLASH- Local History Trip


A local history trip of Annaclone & Drumballyroney took place on Sunday the 29th of July. The trip was organised by Adrian Clarke & Michael Wallace. It began at the Annaclone G.A.C field and the bus travelled down towards the Sentry Box Road.  Adrian gave the history of St. Colman's Annaclone, Chapel, Christ Church, Glebe and 2nd Anaghlone Presbyterian Church. From there the bus went to the top of the cairn at Knockiveagh where people met Mr. Dominic McNally, the owner of the land around the cairn.  He was able give them a very detailed history of the cairn.  Many people were amazed at the great view of the Mournes and the surrounding area.  At 12.20, the bus arrived at Seafin Castle, which is situated on Mr. Alan's Young's land.  With his kind permission we were able to see around the remains of the old castle and view 'the Mount' at McArdle's. Next stop was Dumballyroney Parish Church @ 1.15pm where they viewed Hawkin's Grave. There is a ghost story relating to his grave being struck by lightening on the night which he was buried.  People took a look around the Bronte Schoolhouse and the Church. The trip was nearly over at this stage but the bus had just enough time to stop at the old Tullyorior Public Elementary School and then onto the Angler's Rest @ 3.30pm for a 3 course meal. A great day was had by all and the local people found some hidden gems that they didn't even realise was on their doorstep.

NEWS FLASH- Lesser Spotted Ulster Programme


On the 9th of November 2011, Joe Mahon from UTV's Lesser Ulster Programme visited Annaclone. His first port of call was with the parish's oldest living person Cissie McGivern, who will celebrate her 100th birthday, on the 8th of December this year. Cissie who lived most of her life in the townland of Ballysheil, was the oldest in her family and she had a tough life because her parents both died young which meant she was left to bring up her young siblings. Joe had a wonderful conversion with Cissie about her long life and the many changes which she has seen over the years. Cissie told Joe a few ghost stories and showed him how to knit socks which is very much a dying trade.

Joe's next stop was in the townland of Tullyorior where he spoke to Michael Wallace who explained 'The Placenames Project' which was undertaken by the Annaclone Historical Society. Joe also viewed the townland information panel and the plaques which are erected on the two Tullyorior Schools. After the successful publication of the local history book about 'Annaclone & Drumballyroney' people felt that townlands were being forgot about due to the introduction of the new postal addresses. The aim of the project is to re-establish the townland names by placing a townland marker stone in each area.

Next it was onto the townland of Ballysheil where Joe met Edward McAleenan, who showed him how to make Annaclone's version of a Corn Dollie. These were normally made from the last shig of corn from the harvest and were said to bring good luck to the family home.

Joe went onto visit Knockiveagh (The hill of Iveagh) where he met Dominic McNally, the owner of the land, around the knock hill. The cairn at the top of the knock is a Neolithic settlement and dates back to 3700 BC. In 1957, archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast lead by Dr. Patrick Collins carried out a dig at the Cairn and they uncovered the remains of a young girl and a Wolfe. Joe helped erect a plaque at the top of the Knock hill assisted by Adrian Clarke. Adrian who was one of the people who started the history book back in 1995 and has a great knowledge and understanding of the local area. Annaclone is steeped in History and it has really came alive in recent years due to the work of Annaclone Historical Society and especially the chairman Kieran Heenan.


​October 22, 


​June 23, 2012

NEWS FLASH- Townland Stones Erected

After the successful publication of the local history book, the historical society have received a lot of feedback. One of the main points which people made was the fact that townlands were being forgot about due to the introduction of the new postal addresses. The historical society took this onboard and decided to erect townland stones as a part of a pilot scheme known as 'The Placename Project.' Ardbrin was the first stone to be erected and the Tullintanvally, Tullyorior and Lisnacroppan stones closely followed. Due to the price of the stones the society could not afford to do anymore, however, they were able to secure a grant from DRAP (Down Rural Area Partnership) which meant they could do a further 15 stones. The rest of the stones have now began to be erected and they hope to have them all in place before the end of the year. There has been great public support from all sectors of the community and people feel very strongly about this matter.

​Feb 21, 2012