19 August 2017.

A Summer Tour to Lisburn.

On Saturday 19th August, members visited Lisburn in Northern Ireland.  Following a buffet lunch in the Assembly Rooms at the Linen Museum, the group visited Lisburn Cathedral and viewed the newly restored Crommelin and Dubourdieu memorials in the presence of descendants of both families.  Elizabeth Bicker gave us a brief history of the restoration of the monuments and members discussed the Reverand Saumarez Dubourdieu and his work as both pastor and educator at Lisburn.  Angelique Bell then led an interesting discussion about Louis Crommelin’s life and work and about his influence locally.  You can view photographs of the monuments and cathedral and also read about this unique restoration project and learn about the lives of both of these important Huguenot figures here.

The group then moved to the graveyard outside the cathedral to visit the last resting place of members of the Crommelin and De La Cherois families, which was restored as part of the same project.  Members praised the work of Lisburn Memorials Trust who raised the costs for these restoration projects with a major grant from Heritage lottery Fund.

On returning to the elegant Assembly Rooms, the group enjoyed an interesting talk by Brian Mackey, who spoke about the influence of Crommelin in bringing Lisburn to greater prominence, particularly through his promotion of linen-making in the town.   Members were fascinated by the wonderful portrait of Ruvigny (Lord Galway) which hangs on the Assembly room walls.  It was Galway who introduced Crommelin to King William III on two occasions to facilitate him in his work to raise Lisburn to its status at the centre of linen-making in Ireland.

Brian Mackey then led members on a tour of the magnificent Linen Museum, which tells the story of how highly-prized Irish  linen was harvested, washed, spun, woven, bleached, beetled, embroidered, packaged, marketed and exported from Lisburn and used throughout Ireland, the UK, Europe and the new world up until the mid 20th century.  The permanent exhibition ‘From Flax to Fabric’ is beautifully designed and presented and was a perfect way to end a lovely tour to Lisburn.

We thank Elizabeth Bicker for the wonderful arrangements that made the day run like clockwork and made all members feel so welcome in the lovely town of Lisburn.  We are grateful also for the presence of some London members of the Huguenot Society, including Elizabeth Randall and Brian Matier.  Members will recall that Elizabeth Randall visited us previously to describe the plans for introducing the new style for the ‘Proceedings’ publication.  We appreciate this opportunity to thank her for her work on this and the many other interesting Huguenot Society mailings that we all enjoy receiving.


A Walking Tour of Huguenot Dublin – Through French!

4 March – Sur les traces des Français à Dublin.

Did you know that the first bank in Ireland was directed by a French family? That the first keeper of Marsh’s library came from La Rochelle? Or why some Dublin streets, such as D’Olier Street, have a French name? Or why there is a huguenot cemetery in Merrion Row?

These questions and more were answered on Saturday 4th March when our Committee Member, Marie Léoutre, led a walking tour in Dublin entitled ‘In the footsteps of the French Huguenots’.  The tour, which was given in the French language, ended with some warm coffee and croissants at the Alliance Francaise in Kildare Street.

The event was organised within the framework of the Month of la Francophonie in Ireland, by Dr. Marie Léoutre from the Huguenot Society of Ireland and the Embassy of France in Ireland.

Special thanks to Marsh’s library for generously opening their doors for this special event.