15th October

Rathlin Reminiscences: Its people-Its Stories-Its Places

Wendy Scott

On the eve of his 90th birthday, Loughie McQuilkin the oldest Islander on Rathlin, launched his first book, but as he told Inshore Ireland, perhaps not his last.

This personal account of a bygone era was unveiled to a packed McCuaigs Bar on the island along with invited guests and friends, including UTV’s Lesser Spotted Ulster presenter, Joe Mahon.

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A few selected excerpts were read from the book by Nicky Sebastian, who along with Loughie’s daughter Margaret, and extended family members Jennifer and John McCurdy, listened to Loughie’s stories and helped to make the book happen. Joe Mahon also read some sections, getting a laugh from the assembled well-wishers.

 The book is full of fascinating history about life on the island that was either passed down to Loughie or experienced by him, now recorded for posterity.

Reminiscences is a snapshot of everyday life: local families; lighthouses; fishing; archaeology; farming practices; employment, and how islanders would spend their precious leisure time. The book also includes many engaging photographs, as the title suggests, about its people, its stories and its places.

One of Loughie’s favourites concerns a local man, Mick Anderson, on his way to deliver provisions to the West Lighthouse, with his donkey and cart:

‘On one particular day Mick was rushing the donkey on to get home before dark, when Fr McKinley came out of the Chapel as Mick approached. He said to Mick: “Now, now don’t be abusing the donkey-you know our Lord went to Jerusalem on a donkey.” Micks reply was “by God, Father if he was on this one he would never have got to Jerusalem!”'

Copies directly from Loughie or Margaret McQuilkin on + 44 (0) 28 2076 3983

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