Louis MacNeice Carrickfergus | British Newspaper Archive


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

We’ve reached the extraordinary landmark of 72 million pages all now available to search on The Archive, as we welcome new title the Carrick Times and East Antrim Times to our collection, and celebrate the town of Carrickfergus’s links with poet and playwright Louis MacNeice. That’s not all, we’ve added 152,092 brand new pages to The Archive in all over the last seven days, with new pages joining publications from across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

So read on to discover more about our new and updated titles of the week, as well as to learn more about how the County Antrim town of Carrickfergus celebrated its connection with Auden circle poet Louis MacNeice in the years after his death.

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Our brand new title of the week is the Carrick Times and East Antrim Times, which was founded in the County Antrim town of Carrickfergus in 1891. Serving the large town of Carrickfergus, which is the oldest town in Country Antrim and one of Ireland’s oldest towns, the Carrick Times is a weekly newspaper that is still published to this day.

The town is noted especially for its literary links, with ties to Jonathan Swift, Charlotte Riddell, Louis MacNeice and in more recent times, to crime writer Adrian McKinty.

Featuring local news and features, as well as entertainment and sport news from the Carrickfergus area, the Carrick Times circulates in the area north of Belfast, from Newtownabbey to Larne. In the 1980s the newspaper filled nearly 60 pages, appearing weekly on Thursdays at a cost of 28p. By the early 1990s, the newspaper still appeared on Thursday, but at the cost of 42p.

We’ve also made significant updates to our existing titles this week, with nearly 50,000 brand new pages joining last week’s new title the Ulster Star, whilst over 22,000 brand new pages have joined the Larne Times. Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, we’ve added over 17,000 brand new pages to the South Wales Daily Post and over 16,000 brand new pages to the Edinburgh Evening News.

Louis MacNeice and Carrickfergus

Belfast-born poet and playwright Louis MacNeice spent some of the early years of his life in Carrickfergus. Born in 1907, at the age of two the infant Louis moved with his family to Carrickfergus, where his father was appointed the rector of St. Nicholas’, a Church of Ireland church. He would spend ten years in the town before being sent to boarding school, but Carrickfergus had a lasting effect on him, as he did on the town.

Louis MacNeice would go on to gain great popularity with his poetic works, as well as working for the BBC. In 1958 he was awarded the CBE, and on 3 September 1963 he passed away at the age of just 55, after developing pneumonia.

In 1993, 30 years later, the town of Carrickfergus geared up to mark the 30th anniversary of his death, as detailed by our new title the Carrick Times and East Antrim Times. On 29 July 1993 the newspaper published a piece entitled ‘MacNeice memories wanted!’ The article described the appeal of Helen Rankin, from the Carrick Historical Society, for ‘memories and mementoes of the famous poet Louis MacNeice.’ Helen Rankin told the paper how:

‘We would be delighted to hear from anyone who has any memories of either the family or indeed of MacNeice himself. We are hoping to put them all together and publish something from the society.’

On 11 November 1993 the Carrick Times and East Antrim Times announced how the poet would have the ’30th anniversary of his death commemorated on Friday, November 26.’ Louis MacNeice would be remembered in a special edition of the Carrickfergus and District Historical Society journal.

Indeed, this commemoration saw Louis MacNeice’s memory being celebrated with a full page article by the Carrick Times and East Antrim Times on 2 December 1993. Under the headline ‘MacNeice remembered by Carrick Historical Society,’ the newspaper described how the seventh journal of the Carrick Historical Society was devoted to celebrating the legacy of the poet.

The article went on to describe Louis MacNeice’s connection to the town, as well as publishing his poem ‘Carrickfergus:’

The journal’s introduction admits that while MacNeice spent his creative adult life away from the town, the experiences impressed upon his character while Carrickfergus Rectory was home, reverberated through his poetry for the rest of his life.

The Carrick Times and East Antrim Times also contains some words from Louis MacNeice himself, which were published in BBC title The Listener shortly before his death:

Although my earliest memories are of Carrickfergus, I was, in fact, born in Belfast. But my father was appointed rector of Carrickfergus when I was still almost an infant. My first memories are, in fact, of living in a house that was not a rectory, which we couldn’t enter at the time because the retiring rector was still there on his death-bed.

He went on to describe how he had ‘woven’ a lot of sights and sounds of his childhood into his writing:

The rectory was a red-brick house, not, in fact, architecturally very beautiful, and it was not an old house, but it was the centre of a great deal of mythology – private mythology – which still affects me in dreams. I quickly gave names to every corner of the garden, every little clump of shrubbery was given a special name. And there were all sorts of fantasies my sister and I wove around it.

Find out more about Louis MacNeice, Carrickfergus, and much more besides in the pages of our newspaper Archive today.

New Titles
TitleYears added
Carrick Times and East Antrim Times1987, 1989, 1991-1999
Updated Titles

This week we have updated six of our existing titles.

You can learn more about each of the titles we add to every week by clicking on their names. On each paper’s title page, you can read a FREE sample issue, learn more about our current holdings, and our plans for digitisation.

TitleYears added
Edinburgh Evening News1946, 1982, 1992
Larne Times1985-1986, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1998-1999
Lurgan Mail1990-1991
Mid-Ulster Mail1991-1993, 1995, 1999
South Wales Daily Post1999
Ulster Star1984-1987, 1989-1999

You can keep up to date with all the latest additions by visiting the recently added page.  You can even look ahead to see what we’re going to add tomorrow.


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