2024 Fireside Talks

The Devils of Ballycastle: Boyd’s ‘Indian’ Sculpture Group – full publication
21st February 2024
Limavady Poor Union Workhouse
15th April 2024

2024 Fireside Talks

Fireside Talks 2024

Project Attributes


Ballycastle MuseumFireside Talks


Ballycastle MuseumCCGBC Museum Services


11th March 2024

The programme of Fireside Talks for 2024 featured a series of talks by guest speakers focused on the heritage of Ballycastle and the wider Causeway Coast and Glens.

All of the talks in the series can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

1st February

Stephen O’Hara – Where there many at the Wake?

Stephen O’Hara is a Cushendun storyteller with a deep interest in the ways we have of marking the passing of our loved ones, superstitions and rituals around death, and particularly the Irish wake. Many of these rituals, traditions and practices exist to this day, but not everyone knows of their origins. Stephen will give us an insight into our unique take on the leaving of this world; we’ll also hear of some unearthly happenings at Loughareema and Bonamargy, and the tragic tale of Sorley Boy McDonnell losing his family while he watched from Fair Head.

7th February

Dr Niall Comer – The Place-names of Ballycastle and the Causeway Coast

Dr Niall Comer is a lecturer in Irish and Translation studies in Ulster University, Magee Campus. He is a native of Newry, Co. Down, but now lives in Glenullin, a rural area located between Dungiven and Garvagh, and has a particular interest in the origin of townland names. His Facebook Pages: The Gaelic Heritage of the Causeway Coast and Glens and The Gaelic Heritage of South East Ulster, have proven popular, with over 3000 members.

15th February

Sarah McCollum – Workhouses of Rural Ulster

Sarah McCollum is currently in her first Year of a PhD looking at the impact of religion and philanthropy on the workings of the Poor Law in rural Ulster. Her Master’s dissertation looked at child welfare provision in Limavady Workhouse and her PhD thesis is connected to this original research. Sarah lives in Limavady and has a keen interest in the Poor Law in this general area.

22nd February

Deirdre Goodland – An Ghaelige in North Antrim

Deirdre Goodlad, a native of Tyrone now living in Ballycastle, is the Irish Language Development Officer for the north Antrim area. Deirdre is chair of the Ballycastle Irish language community group, Glór na Maoile – the group run classes and events for all ages, promoting and preserving the language in Ballycastle and the surrounding area. Deirdre, who is currently featured on the BBC2 programme Ar an Sliabh, will give an insight into her work in north Antrim, including the learning, goals and challenges. She will particularly welcome hearing other people’s experiences and their thoughts on the language.

29th February

Sean McMichael – A History of Ballycastle’s Castle Street

Sean McMichael was born and brought up on Quay Road, Ballycastle. After attending college in England, he began a career in IT and has been living in Dublin for the last 25 years.

In 2010, after booking for the Titanic Memorial Cruise, Sean discovered that a Ballycastle man, James Blaney, had died on the ill-fated Titanic. No-one he spoke to seemed to be aware of this and it seemed there were no details available. Sean made it his mission to uncover James Blaney’s story. Two years later, in Titanic’s centenary year, his story was the cover story for The Glynns magazine, and Sean met James Blaney’s American relations in New York at the end of the Memorial Cruise.

This was the beginning of Sean’s interest in genealogy and local history.