Whilst widely known in Ballymena with a local park named after ‘The Bard of Dunclug’, little was known about his actual birthplace. With this in mind the Circle set about researching the birthplace and found that the actual Inn where David Herbison was born had been demolished. So for the blue plaque location, the corner of Lower Mill Street and Wellington Street was considered to be the closest to the Inn.
There was a large gathering of notable historians and academics at the site where Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle extended a warm welcome to visitors and guests. Before the Deputy Mayor of Ballymena, Councillor Timothy Gaston proudly unveiled the plaque; speeches were heard from Ian Crozier, CEO-Ulster Scots Agency who funded the plaque, followed by Dr. Frank Ferguson, director of the Centre for Irish and Scottish studies at the Ulster University.
Dr. Ivan Herbison, a descendant of the poet, regaled guests with a rendering of perhaps David Herbison’s most famous poem –
My Ain Native Toun.
Since I was a boy in my ain native toun,
There’s naething but bigging an pu’ing was’down,
The streets are grown wider, the houses are high
And half o’ their windows peer into the sky……………………
The assembled group then adjourned for refreshments to Ballymena Central Library at Pat’s Brae, courtesy of Mary Bradley, Libraries N.I. There Dr. Ivan Herbison gave an illustrated talk on his ancestor which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. This was the 195th Ulster History Circle blue plaque and the first one in the town of Ballymena.
Photographs from the plaque unveiling – left to right
- David Herbison – the Bard of Dunclug.
- Ian Crozier, the Chief Executive Ulster-Scots Agency, addresses guests.
- L.R. Ian Crozier, Dr. Ivan Herbison, a descendent of the poet, Councillor Timothy Gaston, Deputy Mayor of Ballymena who unveiled the plaque, Dr. Frank Ferguson, Director – the Centre for Irish & Scottish Studies- Ulster University and Chris Spurr, Chairman, Ulster History Circle.
- L.R. Wilson Burgess, Liam Logan, Dr. Ivan Herbison, Chris Spurr with Mary Bradley, Ballymena Central Library.