Excursion to Coney Island – 1896

Mid-Ulster Mail – Saturday 22 August 1896

Excursion to Coney Island

Maghery, photographed by Robert John Welch in 1908. In the top picture, the fishermen’s trammel nets can be seen drying on the stakes

The annual excursion of the Temperance League, of Ballinderry, and the Society of the Apostleship of Prayer, Moneymore and Loup, came off on Tuesday. The two parishes had, by previous arrangement, agreed to form one large party and visit Coney Island, a beautiful spot situated in Lough Neagh, near the junction of two counties, Tyrone and Armagh.

Each party was accompanied by its brass band, and arrangements were previously made for a picnic on the island. After assisting at the eight o’clock Mass, the long procession of cars and brakes began to move from Loup and, winding its way through Ballyronan, reached Ballinderry, where the other part of the excursion anxiously awaited their arrival. After the usual salutations the whole excursion, now numbering over 300, began to move off in the direction of Coney Island, the Ballinderry Brass Band discoursing sweet music in the van of the procession.

The weather was very promising and everyone looked gay and the picture of happiness as they rolled along by the fields, waving responses with their handkerchiefs to the cheers that greeted them on their passage. After passing Ardboe and Washingbay they came to Maghery where they were met by Mr George Forker, who had made arrangements to bring them to the island and supply the materials for a picnic.

The stalwart fishermen of Maghery were not long in leaving the excursionists on the island, and Miss McKinless, who lives in Lord Charlemont’s summer residence on the island, kindly sent the island boat for the priests who accompanied the excursion.

Coney Island is a fairy spot, shaded by tall trees, and containing ruins of an old castle or monastery, which should be interesting to antiquarians. Within the last few years Lord Charlemont, who is the owner of the island, has spent a large sum in erecting a summer residence there, and a reception hall for visitors, and in beautifying the place in other ways by making walks and raising artificial mounds etc.

After a few hours pleasantly spent in picnicking and listening to the bands playing National and other airs, the party returned home well-pleased with Coney Island and Maghery. They were visited on the island by Rev Thomas O’Neill CC, Loughgall, and Lord Charlemont. Great credit is due to Mr Forker for the able manner in which he fulfilled his engagements with the excursionists. The Excursion Committees of Ballinderry and Loup are also to be congratulated on the successful manner in which they arranged and carried out the excursion. They were heartily assisted by Rev Charles Montague CC, Ballinderry, and Rev Alexander McPeake CC, Loup. Thanks are due to the owners of the conveyances who undertook to send their men and horses such a distance. The excursion was the largest and best-conducted ever seen in the district, and gave universal satisfaction. Those who took part in it, and many others, look forward anxiously to some future day when Father Montague and Father McPeake will give another united excursion.

Coney Island as seen from Maghery

Leave a comment