John Murphy Farley plaque unveiling


Photographs from the Plaque unveiling – Left to right


  1. Local residents of Newtownhamilton and guests listen to the Mayor of Newry, Mourne  and District Council, Naomi Bailie, in front of the birthplace of Cardinal John Murphy Farley.
  2. American Consul- General, Gregory S. Burton.
  3. Monsignor Raymond Murray who unveiled the blue plaque.
  4. Kieran McConville, Creggan Historical Society, Mayor Naomi Bailie of NMDC, Monsignor Raymond Murray, Chris Spurr, Chairman, Ulster History Circle, Gregory S. Burton, American Consul-General and Mary Comiskey, Chairperson, Creggan Historical Society.
  5. Anthony Gildernew, Chris Spurr, Mayor Naomi Bailie,and Mairead Ferguson, treasurer Ulster History Circle.

Alexandrina McCausland Stewart plaque unveiling


Photographs from the unveiling ceremony – left to right

  1. Pat McCafferty with Celia Ferguson (nee Herdman)
  2. L-R.- Chris Spurr, chairman- Ulster History Circle, Nuala McAllister Hart and Wilson Burgess.
  3. Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Elisha McCallion unveils the blue plaque.
  4. Nuala McAllister Harte and Mayor, Councillor Elisha Mccallion.
  5. Guests who attended the unveiling.

Ruby Murray Plaque unveiling

Ruby Murray Plaque unveiling on 15th February 2019

The Belfast press corps and local television cameras faced Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle as he welcomed everyone to the unveiling of the blue plaque to remember and commemorate, Ruby Murray, the singing sensation of the 1950’s and subsequent decades.  The girl who had the ‘jewel of a voice’ and who enchanted millions with her talent.  The Murray families had travelled from Canada and from England to attend the event. Guests who included Arlene Foster, Emma Little-Pengelly, Christopher Stalford, mingled with local bystanders who had come to watch the ceremony.

Ruby Murray was born in 84 Moltke Street, off the Donegall Road, not too far away from the plaque location. Speaking on behalf of the Belfast City Council, Councillor Donal Lyons said that the BCC were delighted to have been approached by the Circle for the funding, and he welcomed being able to honour such an icon – a daughter of the City.  The acting director of the Great Village Regeneration Trust, Sarah Bowden expressed their honour in having the plaque on the GVRT building on the Donegall Road,  and said that it was a fitting tribute to Ruby Murray who came from the area. The plaque can be seen by everyone.

Just before Ruby’s son and daughter, Tim and Julie Murray, unveiled the plaque, Tim said – ‘Julie and I are totally ‘blown away’ by the honour bestowed on our mother in her home city.

We are delighted to be back in Belfast especially in the area that was so dear to our mother’s heart – where she was born, grew up, attended Fane Street School and joined the children’s choir. We are grateful to everyone who has turned out this morning to commemorate Ruby with this Ulster History Circle blue plaque, and to the Belfast City Council for the funding.

It means the world to us that she is still remembered with love in her native city and by so many people the world over. We are so proud and it is lovely to know that her name and her music live on’.

After numerous photographs and television interviews, Tim, Julie and guests adjourned to the adjacent building for refreshments, and to listen to Peter Wilson (aka Duke Special) sing one of Ruby’s songs ‘Happy Days and Lonely Nights’. This was followed by Michael Cameron who nominated Ruby Murray for the blue plaque, and who was the writer of the ‘Ruby’ play at the Lyric theatre.  Finally Tim Murray spoke personally about his wonderful mother; her achievement of having 5 No. 1 records in the Top Twenty in the week of 18th March 1955, and eventually her battle with her demons.

The ceremony concluded with the showing of a 20 minute film made many years ago by RTE. An emotional audience heard again, Ruby Murray singing a selection of her songs with tributes on film from Phil Coulter and Daniel O’Donnell, amongst others.

The final song to end the remarkable day in which so many memories were stirred, was from ‘Duke Special’ who sang perhaps Ruby’s most famous – ‘Softly, Softly’.

Photographs from the Plaque unveiling


Photographs – left to right

  1. The location of the Blue Plaque to Ruby, at 337 Donegall Road, Belfast.
  2. Chris Spurr, Chairman Ulster History Circle looks on as Ruby Murray’s son and daughter Tim and Julie Murray address the guests.
  3. Tim and Julie unveil the UHC Blue Plaque to their mother.
  4. Michael Cameron who nominated Ruby Murray for the blue plaque, and  the writer of the ‘Ruby’ play at the Lyric Theatre, with Julie and Tim.
  5. Suzanne McGonagle , Irish News and Claire McNeilly, Belfast Telegraph interview Tim Murray.
  6. Sarah Bowden, acting director -Greater Village Regeneration Trust (3rd Left) and the ladies from GVRT, with ‘Duke Special’ who performed at the ceremony.

David Herbison plaque unveiling

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

  1. David Herbison – the Bard of Dunclug.
  2. Ian Crozier, the Chief Executive Ulster-Scots Agency, addresses guests.
  3. 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.
  4. L.R. Wilson Burgess, Liam Logan, Dr. Ivan Herbison, Chris Spurr with Mary Bradley, Ballymena Central Library.

St John Ervine plaque unveiling

One of Belfast’s writers and playwrights who was a lifelong friend of George Bernard Shaw was commemorated by the unveiling of a blue plaque on the school in Susan Street, east Belfast, where he attended as a young boy.

As Chris Spurr welcomed guests, he said, ‘St. John Ervine had come from the little streets of east Belfast to become one of the great international literary figures of the first half of the twentieth century. His novels, his biographies, his journalism, and above all his plays, show him to be a writer of worth’. 

 Brian Ervine, a distant relative of John Greer Ervine (he adopted the pen name St. John Ervine whilst in London) spoke about John’s parents being deaf, and also running a guest house for deaf people, off the Albertbridge Road. Much of young John’s childhood was spent with his grandmother who had a shop on the Albertbridge Road. It was thought that when St. John Ervine wrote his best known play, ‘Boyd’s Shop’, the inspiration had come from his time spent in his granny’s shop.

The importance of St. John Ervine’s work was again stressed when Damien Smyth of the Arts Council addressed guests. He said that the seven novels and biographies, including studies of Parnell, Carson, Oscar Wilde, Craigavon and George Bernard Shaw were legendary, and all from a man who deserved to be better remembered in his native city.

As Brian Ervine unveiled the blue plaque, he commented that  it was a proud moment for the Ervine family, and thanked the Belfast City Council and the Ulster History Circle for making the commemoration possible.  A day to remember in Susan Street.



Photographs from the unveiling ceremony – left to right

  1. Brian Ervine addresses the assembled guests, watched by his wife Linda Ervine and Councillor Sammy Douglas.
  2. Guests who attended the unveiling outside the former Westbourne Presbyterian Church School where the playwright attended.
  3. Brian Ervine unveils the blue plaque to his relative, Rev. Mervyn Gibson, Chris Spurr, Chairman, Ulster History Circle and Alan Boyd, Hon. Secretary, Ulster History Circle.

Harry Hollywood Plaque unveiling

Date of unveiling – 25th July, 2015.
Location – Victoria Lock, Omeath Road, Newry, Co. Armagh.

Photographs – left to right

  1. Harry Hollywood. Master Mariner.
  2. Chris Spurr, Chairman Ulster History Circle welcomes guests to the unveiling of the plaque at the Maritime Gardens, Victoria Locks, Newry.
  3. Eddie Quinn who unveiled the plaque and his wife Anne.
  4. James McArevey, PR officer, Newry Maritime Association with Mayor of Newry, Councillor Niaomi Baillie, Eddie Quinn, members of the NMA, and Adam Fisher representing Fishers Shipping who laid floral tributes. Also in the picture Chris Spurr, Chairman UHC and Danny Kennedy MLA.
  5. Chairman of the Newry Maritime Association, Michael O’Hare
  6. far right, with members of the Ulster History Circle, Eddie Quinn and Mayor Niaomi Baillie.
  7. Victorian lamppost especially commissioned by the Newry Maritime Association from Master Blacksmith, Michael Mallon, to hold the blue plaque.

Robert Denis Blanchflower Plaque unveiling

The sound of television cameras and the click of press shutters, broke the silence of the normally quiet residential Grace Avenue in east Belfast.  Sports starts mingled with politicians, community representatives and invited guests, to watch football legend Danny Blanchflower being commemorated by the unveiling of a blue plaque at his childhood home.

Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle said that the Circle was delighted that this remarkable man was being honoured, and thanked the Belfast City Council for their support in the funding of the plaque. Guests who included FIFA Vice President, Jim Boyce, household names such as Pat Jennings, Jackie Fullerton and Bertie Wright, the oldest living player who played with Danny at Glentoran, listened as the Chairman of the UHC said – ‘Danny Blanchflower’s contribution to the game he loved, whether as a player with the Glens, Spurs and Northern Ireland, or later as a manager, is acknowledged as being amongst the best’.

Danny Blanchflower’s daughters, Gayle Blanchflower and Susie Knight   watched with pride as glowing tributes were paid by Jim Boyce and Pat Jennings, and as television cameras recorded the occasion, Gayle Blanchflower unveiled the blue plaque to her iconic father. The unveiling was televised on BBC News at 1.00 pm. and was also live streamed to Tottenham Hotspur FC in London.

Guests adjourned to the Oval where Chairman, Stephen Henderson welcomed everyone to Danny Blanchflower’s first club where he was a player from 1945-1949.

As refreshments were served, further tributes to Danny were delivered by Jackie Fullerton and by Spur’s Head of Publishing, John Fennelly. John said that he was delighted to have been invited to such a wonderful occasion, to honour an Ulsterman who became a Spur’s team captain and who in the 1960-61 season had ensured that the team won their first 11 games (still a record for the top league in English football) and then eventually the league.  

The final words to such a memorable day were from Gayle Blanchflower who said- ‘the news of the plaque being commissioned came as a delightful surprise: I will never ever get over how Danny is still remembered after all these years. Not just by Northern Irish people, but throughout the world’. 



Photographs from the unveiling ceremony – left to right

  1. Chris Spurr, Chairman Ulster History Circle with Gayle Banchflower daughter of Danny Blanchflower, and Christa Glover, daughter of the late Jackie Banchflower.
  2. Jim Boyce, Vice President of FIFA with Pat Jennings, one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
  3. Gayle Blanchflower unveils the blue plaque to her father.
  4. The event attracted vast media attention.
  5. Members of the Ulster History Circle with Board members of Glentoran FC, Pat Jennings, Jackie Fullerton and John Fennelly of Tottenham Hotspur FC.

Thomas George-Farquhar Paterson plaque unveiling

On a very wet and windy morning in Armagh, guests gathered inside Armagh County Museum to hear many tributes to the man of which ‘Armagh could be forever proud’. These were the sentiments of Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle, as he welcomed the audience to the ceremony.

The blue plaque to Thomas George Farquhar Paterson or ‘TGF’ as he was known was commemorating Armagh Museum’s first full time curator, and it was also the first Ulster History Circle blue plaque to be put up in Armagh City.

Roger Weatherup, former curator of the Museum and who worked as deputy curator to ‘TGF’ spoke fondly of the man who was making history that morning. A man, who had a great passion for history and who, without any formal academic training, developed his interest to the extent of becoming an acknowledged authority on the country he loved.  His writings were legendary, and he also wrote under the pseudonym of ‘Cornascreeb’ and contributed to local papers.  Guests listened intently as Roger told of ‘TGF’ appointment in 1931, as honorary curator of the Armagh Natural History and Philosophical Society Museum, and then later when it was renamed Armagh County Museum, his appointment as the first permanent curator.  During the 32 years until his retirement, Thomas George Farquhar Paterson became a member of the Royal Irish Academy, and in 1954 he was awarded an OBE.  When he retired in 1963, he was appointed Honorary Advisor to the Museum because of his long and devoted service, and continued to live in the caretaker’s residence.

Students from the Royal School Armagh also took part in the proceedings and read several poems and stories by ‘TGF’. Then braving the wind and rain, guests adjourned to Charlemont Gardens, beside the Museum, where they watched history being made when Roger Weatherup and Patricia Paterson, niece of ‘TGF’ unveiled the blue plaque.


Photos from the Plaque unveiling ceremony – Left to right

  1. Roger Weatherup, former curator of Armagh County Museum addresses the audience inside the Museum.
  2. A selection of the guests and friends who attended.
  3. L.R. Chris Spurr, Chairman Ulster History Circle, Roger Weatherup and Mrs. Patricia Paterson who unveiled the blue plaque, and Peter Cavan Ulster History Circle.
  4. Edith Graham, Friends of Armagh Museum with Roger Weatherup.

Thomas George Farquhar Paterson 1888-1971

Location of plaque – Charlemont Gardens, beside Armagh County Museum, the Mall East, Armagh City, Co.Armagh.
Date of unveiling – 12th March 2015.
Unveiled by Mr. Roger Weatherup and Mrs. Patricia Paterson.
Funded by – Friends of Armagh County Museum and Friends of the Ulster Museum.