Published in 20th Century Social Perspectives, 20th-century / Contemporary History, General, Home Rule, Issue 1(Jan/Feb 2013), Letters, Volume 21

Sir,—I thoroughly enjoyed Philip Orr’s article on Ballymena during the Home Rule crisis (HI 20.6, Nov./Dec. 2012). I have lived in the town for 40 years and taught history here for 30. A pupil once lent me a postcard (reproduced in my Nationalist and Unionist: Ireland before the Treaty [Blackie & Son, 1989]) sent in April 1912 by ‘Meg’ to her friend ‘Ellie’, who lived on High Street, Ballymena. It illustrates the anti-Home Rule fervour in the town and also Meg’s disappointment at what she had witnessed when she attended a rally in Belfast. She wrote:


‘Dear Ellie,

You missed a treat not being here on Tuesday. I was ashamed to own B’mena they had such a poor turn out. What there was of them looked well. This is the day to decide which flag you will be under. With love to all,


—Yours etc.,



Sir,—Your article about Ballymena during the Home Rule crisis was very enlightening. An example of how things have changed is that, 100 years later in 2012, the mayor of Ballymena is P.J. McAvoy, the first nationalist and Catholic to hold the office.—Yours etc.,


Durban, SA

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