Yesterday when driving from Ayr through Troon up to Irvine, I made a point of stopping at Titchfield Road along Troon seafront. Why? Because my great grandfather was living there when he signed the Ulster Covenant in Troon in 1912. If you click on the document below (from the excellent PRONI website) you'll see five Thompson men - John, James, William, William and William John - were all staying at Titchfield Row when they signed the Covenant. William John was my great grandfather, and he gave his home address as Ballyfrench - the wee townland I'm now back living on again. You'll see that there were Bailies from John St in Newtownards living there with them, as well as other Ards and Belfast men. I expect they were over there working on the 'Scotch Harvest'. (Click to enlarge):
The photo below is of the roadsign for Titchfield Road, with Ailsa Craig directly behind. I wonder how often these men stood on that shore after a hard days work, looked out across the sea and thought of home? (Click to enlarge):
Ayrshire is my favourite part of Scotland - family tradition has it that the first of our Thompsons came across to Ulster from around Troon and Kilmarnock, probably some time in the early 1700s. Thanks to Joe and Jean, to Billy, to William, John and Brian for all of their help and hospitality over the weekend. If Stena Line and P&O would pool their finances and build a massive big bridge I'd probably be over there at least once a month - trawling through graveyards, libraries, museums, bookshops, ruined castles and abbeys... and eating Ayrshire tatties!