2016 Spring Outing
Visit to Down Museum and 1798 Rebellion Tour.
Some 20 members of the Society set out on a very comfortable Giles Tours bus for our Spring Outing around the Ards Peninsula and Downpatrick areas. This year we were to learn more about the 1798 Rebellion. Chairman Ian Wilson took the mic and related some of the history as we made our way to Portaferry on a beautiful sunny day. Ian pointed out that many of those who took part in the Rebellion were forced into joining, or went because their friends were going, as well as those who had strong convictions. He also told us of the grave in Bangor Abbey of Archibald Wilson, who was hanged for his part in the Rebellion.

We made good time and took the ferry over to Strangford, and then went on to Down County Museum for a soup and sandwich lunch in their Cathedral View restaurant. Gathered in the museum courtyard we listened as staff member Linda McKenna introduced her very comprehensive history of the Rebellion. Lots of rebels were executed after the rising, some here on the chilling and intimidating gallows, and one hoisted aloft from a windmill at Ballynahinch. Others were transported to America or given the chance to emigrate, never to return.

Travelling a meandering route that the rebels marched on their way to the Battle of Ballynahinch, and that taxed the driving skills of our bus driver, we passed the Creevy Rocks campground before visiting graveyards at Killinchy, Saintfield and Ballynahinch where Linda told us about various members of the United Irishmen and their exploits in early June 1789.

In the Saintfield churchyard, a commemorative stone has been placed and information boards erected to tell the story of the Rebellion, and a little garden set aside with two gravestones to represent the many casualties of the Battle of Saintfield.

Back to the Down County Museum for afternoon tea, and then home to Bangor for 5.30pm. A very enjoyable and informative day, thanks to Ian, Ronnie and Adrianne for organising it all.