Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Exactly 439 years ago, on 31 August 1572...

... Thomas Smith Jr. arrived at Newcastle on the Ards Peninsula, with 100 men and permission from Queen Elizabeth I to plant an English colony here. Later this year, on Saturday 1st October, I'll be leading a bus tour with Loughries Historical Society of the lower end of the Ards Peninsula (which, paradoxically is called the Upper Ards - some folk are prone to getting that historical distinction very badly mixed up), visiting some of the sites associated with the failed/forgotten Smith English colony, and of course with the later successful Hamilton & Montgomery Scottish settlement which began in May 1606. You can find out more about the Smith scheme in the booklet which I published last year with help from Mark Anderson and Loughries H.S..

• On the evening of Wed 14th September I'll also be giving an illustrated talk about the Smith colony to Ards Historical Society (at the old Town Hall / Ards Arts Centre in the Square) starting at 8pm. As far as I know entry is free and you'll get a cup of tea forbye.

• Mark's blog, A Balmoral Perspective, is always a great insight into his work and interests, you can read it here. There may even be a few spaces left on the tour.

• On Saturday 17 September, I'll be repeating the tour which Mark and I devised last year for Loughries H.S, which we called 'A Forenoon Aroon the Ards'. This time it's for Ards Borough Council, and some places are still available (contact the Ards Tourist Info Centre for details). It runs from 10am - 3pm and has been advertised in the 'Experience Ards 2011' brochure.

I really enjoy being out among local folk who share my interest in our local history. I always end up learning a lot from them, as well as enjoying their company.