The Ulster History Circle is a small voluntary not for profit organisation that places commemorative plaques in public places in towns and villages all over the Province in commemoration of men and women who have contributed to its culture, industry and history.
Blue Plaque for James Viscount Bryce
Unveiling the plaque to James Viscount Bryce at 13 Chichester Street, Belfast on Friday 10 May 2013
It was raining when I left Downpatrick and it was raining when I got back from Strabane where our blue plaque was unveiled to commemorate the life and works of Brian O'Nolan, Flann O'Brien, Myles na gCopaleen, on the centenary (almost) of his birth. Fortunately the rain stopped near Omagh and stayed dry for my time in Strabane.
Two of Myles' characters in Cruiskeen Lawn (his column in the Irish Times), Keats and Chapman, were discussing dreams. Keats said 'Last night I dreamed that I died and went to Heaven.' 'Were there many there?' inquired Chapman. "There wasn't a sinner in the place.'
The plain people of Ireland (some of them) assembled
That couldn't be said about the gathering of his relatives, local historians, local political and literary figures who had assembled for the event. The blue plaque ceremony was one of a programmed events extending over several days to mark the centenary.
That O'Nolan is held in high regard and affection in the town of his birth was plain to see and was reflected in the Mayor McMahon's welcome and address. There were readings from his works by his great nephew Kevin O'Nolan before he performed the unveiling ceremony.
Unfortunately I had to leave right after the unveiling and so missed an interesting session including the showing of a film produced by the Strabane History Society. This can be viewed on the Society's website at