Historic collection inspires a new generation of storytellers

BCRC Winter Fireside Talks – 1) The prehistory of the Causeway Coast and Glens
12th January 2021
Ballycastle Reanimates the Sam Henry Collection
13th January 2021

Historic collection inspires a new generation of storytellers

George Murphy, Patrick Breslin, Pearl Hutchinson, Maud Steele, Mick Turner, Sarah Carson, Jennifer Gardiner, Gordon Craig (Sam Henry's grandson), Christine Turner and Colum McCloskey

Project Attributes


Sam Henry


Coleraine Museum


13th January 2021



The Causeway Yarnspinners held a very popular event in Kilrea Town Hall on the 29th November 2018 to share Coleraine Museum’s Sam Henry Collection.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Museum Services have been working with the Causeway Yarnspinners on the Connecting with the Past, Collecting for the Future project. Through workshops, they have received hands on access to this prestigious collection and have been inspired to share it through new stories and poetry. The Yarnspinners revealed new information about people in Sam’s photograph collection, they wrote new poetry about local places of interest and they sang some of the songs from the collection. Gordon Craig, Sam Henry’s grandson, thanked them for a wonderful evening.

Sam Henry was born in 1878 in Coleraine. He was an avid folklorist, historian, photographer, ornithologist, naturalist, genealogist and musician. Through his work he formed relationships with an older generation and recorded aspects of their lives that are now all but forgotten. “In my contact with the old, who have all now passed away,” he wrote, “I had the rare privilege of sharing their folk lore and their old songs.” Sam is perhaps best known for his ‘Songs of the People’ series which ran in the Northern Constitution between 1923 and 1938. It published songs known, played and sung by people across Northern Ireland.

This project is part of a wider programme Sam Henry: Connecting with the Past, Collecting for the Future, funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund and administrated by the Museums Association.

“Local people making local people interesting!” – have a listen to the pieces recorded by the Yarnspinners below.