Welcome to the Cullybackey & District Historical Society

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Local knowledge is that knowledge of a particular area, of its people, houses, premises, roads and lanes and other things of particular interest which a resident of that area automatically acquires.

Welcome to the Cullybackey and District Historical Society.  Cullybackey:-CúilnaBaice meaning the “angle or corner of the river bend” is situated beside the fast flowing River Maine which for many years powered the many linen mills along its banks.

The village and surrounding townlands has a long social, economic and industrial history. Like many other villages it has changed and expanded over the years, and sadly it has lost some of its character and many of its industries that helped to shape the lives of its citizens.

Arthur Cottage, ancestral home of Chester Alan Arthur, twenty-first president of the United States of America and the Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church built in 1881 by the Misses Catherine and Jane Cuningham in memory of their mother are just two of the village’s landmarks.

In the early 1900s the village was able to play host to two golf clubs, a tennis club, bowling green, table tennis and football teams.  Other social activities included a branch of the YMCA established in 1887, which had a club room in the centre of the village and included a library and reading room.

Education has always been important in the village.  From the “Auld School at the Pun” to the large and modern Buick Memorial Primary School originally built in 1900 and re-built in 1937 and then the advantage of secondary education with the building of Cullybackey High School in 1968.

Cullybackey and the surrounding district has had its share of academic and literary figures.  With many of their poems being influenced by their surroundings we have poetry by brothers John, Patrick, Samuel Fee and Thomas Given, James Loughridge and Adam Lynn some of whose work was published in the late 1800 early 1900’s.  As well as writing poetry Mr W. J. Paul, was a journalist and musician and the Rev. Dr. Buick, a gifted minister, and eminent antiquary.  In more recent times we have had literary works by Ian Cochrane.

It is also the birthplace of artists Wilfred Haughton, Drew Cochrane and self-taught wildlife and sporting artist John Moore, Southampton footballer Steve Davis, award winning film producer Alison Millar, national and international show jumper Jessica Chesney-Kurten, and traditional musician John Kennedy.

Whether you have lived all your life in or around Cullybackey, or are a newcomer  you may have  acquired some knowledge of the area which helps give us a sense of place.  This attachment to place and to name is not backward or contrary but real and embedded in our cultural heritage.  The names of our churches, of people and their habitats, our hills and glens, streets and townlands are repositories of history and tradition that we must cherish and celebrate.