Oliver Pollock plaque unveiling

The 200th Ulster History Circle blue plaque was unveiled by the US Consul General, Daniel J. Lawton, watched by invited guests and visitors from all over the north of Ireland.

In his opening address, the Ulster History Circle’s Chairman, Chris Spurr noted that Oliver Pollock had been given the honour of the Circle’s milestone plaque, and by choosing Pollock and his birthplace of Bready, this would remind people that the Circle had a place as much in the smaller historic communities as it did in the larger cities.  ‘In devising the dollar sign, Oliver Pollock created a small symbol which had a huge impact, and we hope that the Ulster History Circle do the same,’ he said.

Speakers at the commemoration included Daniel J. Lawton, the US Consul General who said that he was honoured to have been asked to unveil the plaque to locally born Oliver Pollock.

Oliver was one of the many Ulstermen who left Ireland and who had vastly contributed to America’s history, by inventing the dollar sign and by helping to finance the American Revolutionary War, personally donating 3000,000 pesos, equivalent to $Ibn. 

A special welcome was extended to the Consul General who had just taken up his appointment in Northern Ireland. Chris Spurr said that the Circle and the Consulate office enjoyed 

an excellent relationship, and he hoped that Daniel J. Lawton would indeed enjoy his time in Northern Ireland, and where possible attend some future plaque unveilings.

As this was the Circle’s 200th plaque, there was a large attendance of press corps and the unveiling was also covered by television; and it was the opportunity for the Ulster History Circle to personally thank the media for their continuing support of the Circle’s voluntary work.  The funders of the blue plaque, the Ulster Scots Agency, were represented at the event by Board Director, Ida Fisher who was warmly thanked for their support.

After the unveiling and interviews, guests enjoyed a talk on Oliver Pollock by the well-known local historian William Roulston, followed by James Kee of the Bready Ulster-Scots Group.  Welcoming everyone inside the Sollus Centre, James introduced piper, Darran Milligan, singer Ruth McPhillips, and the Sollus Highland Dancers who showcased a programme of music, song and dance.

It was a very special day in Bready, Strabane, Co. Tyrone – where the links with America were as strong as they were in Oliver Pollock’s Day.

Some photographs from the event.

Photographs – Left to right.
  1. The invitation photograph showing the dollar sign and the face of Oliver Pollock (face is taken from a sculpture of Pollock in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by artist Frank Hayden)
  2. The US Consul-General in Northern Ireland, Daniel J. Lawton who unveiled the blue plaque.
  3. L.r. Chris Spurr, Chairman-Ulster History Circle, Derry City and Strabane Mayor, Elisha Mccallion, US Consul-General, Daniel J. Lawton and James Kee , Manager, Sollus Centre.
  4. Leslie McKeague, Co. Cavan, member of Ulster History Circle with Mervyn and Jean McKean, Longvale House, Porthall, Co. Donegal.
  5. Mayor Elisa Mccallion, Consul-General, Daniel J. Lawton with members of the Ulster History Circle, the Ulster Scots Agency who sponsored the plaque, the Ulster Historical Foundation and the Sollus Highland Dancers.
  6. The US Consul-General with Darren Milligan, piper, Ruth McPhillips and the Sollus Highland Dancers who showcased a programme of music,song and dance.