Carrig-Na-Cule Hotel Portstewart


A Moment in Time

My parents, Richard Mulholland and Eleanor Quinn, got married in the summer of 1961.

After the wedding at First Moneymore, the wedding party drove the 34 miles northwards for the wedding reception on the coast.  They stopped at the Rose Gardens in Coleraine for photographs.

Afterwards they made the short trip to the reception in the Carrig-na-Cule Hotel in Portstewart.

It was Saturday 24th June 1961.

Carrig-Na-Cule Hotel in Portstewart
Carrig-Na-Cule Hotel in Portstewart

The original black and white photo has been colourised.

There were about 55 people on the wedding guest list (calculated from other photos taken at the Rose Gardens).  About thirty or so were captured in the above photo.  I have labelled as many as possible.

carrig na cule portstewart june 1961 names

Alfie Brown’s wife can be seen above at the reception (presumably Alfie was there too).  Dad’s cousin Sammy Armstrong, as well as Sammy’s sister and wife, also can be seen above.  My uncle William McCaughern from Ballymaconnelly, just outside Kilrea, is in the midst of the photo. My uncle and aunt, Sammy and Matsy Mulholland, are also captured. On my mother’s side, the Quinns are also there, notably her sisters, Georgie, Jean and Margaret.

Many of the people were at this point in the midst of their lives, others were starting out. Sadly the majority are long since passed.  I thought it would be nice to not only share the newly colourised photo – but also to create what that moment in time must have been like, e.g. the weather that June 1961 day, what was happening in the news, what was on TV, what music was top of the charts, etc.

The Weather

Mainland Britain saw the highest temperatures of the year to date, during that final weekend in June.  It got into the 70s. In Ulster, being that bit further north, it is always cooler.  The weather forecast, according to the Belfast Telegraph, said:
Weather men promise a dry, sunny week-end.

An official, at the Aldergrove Meteorological Office, said it would remain dry during the hours of daylight, certainly in the eastern part of Ulster. Some rain would move in from the west, affecting the west before dark and the rest of the Province during the night, but it would be very light. “To-morrow, i.e. Sunday, should be dry and sunny, becoming wet later,” the official added.

Temperatures were expected to reach 65 degrees to-day, climbing to 70 in some places. Much the same level of temperatures are expected to-morrow, though it will become cooler later in the day. The maximum temperature recorded at Aldergrove yesterday (Friday 23rd) was 68 and a half degrees (which is five and a half degrees above the average for the month) and there were nine and a half hours of sunshine.

The Moon – Full Moon will occur on June 28th

Lighting-Up Time: 11.04 p.m. till 3.48 a.m.

High tides tomorrow: 9-05 a.m., 9-35 p.m.

The TV Schedule

On the eve of the wedding (Friday night), I imagine my parents were nervous and too busy preparing for their wedding the next day, to watch any TV.  What am I saying.  Doh. They didn’t even have a TV – very few rural people had one in 1961.  It would be another ten years, before we got a TV.

The majority of people, at least within rural communities, still depended upon the radio (the ‘wireless’ as many folk, like my grandfather, called it).

I am looking here at the TV and Radio schedule, as listed in the Belfast Telegraph, for that June 1961 weekend. 

There were only some six radio stations available, namely:

  • BBC Home Service which was a British national radio station that broadcast between 1939 and 1967. It was replaced by BBC Radio 4),
  • Light Programme a BBC radio station which broadcast between 1945 and 1967, before being replaced by BBC Radio 2;
  • Network Three – a radio service which began broadcasting in September 1957 and closed in September 1967. It was replaced by BBC Radio 3.
  • Athlone – the national broadcaster from the South of Ireland.  I can remember this station name on the old wireless dials.
  • Luxembourg – very popular in UK and Ireland.  Radio Luxembourg had in the 1970s, a 1300KW transmitter, which was the most powerful privately owned transmitter in the world.
  • AFN – American Forces Network.  That’s a baffling one.  The war’s been over for 16 years.  They broadcast each evening.
There were no car radios, nor cheap portable transister radios.
If any of the 55 guests did have a TV, then they had a choice of two channels, BBC (the national broadcaster) and UTV (Ulster Television, commercial station). 
It’s also interesting to note that the channels back then closed down each evening between 11 and 12 midnight. The national anthem was often played at close-down.  Here are the TV shows they would have seen that Friday and Saturday.

 

 

BBC TV – Friday Evening

logo bbc 1960s
logo bbc 1960s

UTV – Friday Evening

logo utv ulster television
logo utv ulster television
   
6.30 News 5.54 Weather
6.37 News From N. Ireland 5.55 News
6.47 The Weather 6.06 This Wonderful World
6.50pm Bob Harvey 6.35 Roundabout
7.05 The Best of Bilko 7.00 Life of Riley
7.29 News 7.30 Emergency Ward 10
7.30 Mantovani 8.00 This Week
8.00 Hancock 8.30 Take Your Pick
8.25 Zoo Quest 8.55 Bootsie and Snudge
8.55 Magnolia Street 9.25 News
9.25 The Burns and Allen Show 9.35 No Hiding Place
9.50 News: Sports News 10.30 Sportscast
10.15 Sahara 11.00 Loretta Young Show
10.45 The Low-Back’d Car 11.30 Close
11.10 Weather and Close
Saturday Morning Saturday – first programmes of the day
1030am Science on Saturday 2.40 Sports Preview
10.45 The Artist Speaks 2.45 News
11.25 Cricket: England v Australia 2.50 Horse Racing from Doncaster
1.35 Summer Grandstand 4.10 Motor Racing from Silverstone
3.00 Billy Bunter 5.00 Lassie
3.30 Cricket: England v Australia 5.25 Summer Scoreboard

The News

Nationally, that final Saturday in June 1961, the big news was of a ten man prison escape from Wandsworth prison in London. In other news, American preacher Billy Graham and his wife had tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. There was a cricket test match ongoing that weekend, between England and Australia.

Locally, the awful news that Saturday afternoon, was the death of a Welsh motor-cyclist C.S. Todd at the 350 C.C. race at Dundrod.  The young man went off the road while at the head of the race.  His fiancee had been watching the race.  Tragic events.

Top of the Pops

At number one that week of the wedding, in the UK Singles Chart, was “Good Luck Charm” by Elvis Presley.  It had been at the top for four weeks by that point and would spend another week at number one.

 

FIRE AT PORTSTEWART. A fire broke out in the Carrig-na-cule hotel premises, the property of Mr. S. R. Henry, on Wednesday evening. Fortunately the outbreak was discovered before very serious damage was done; and the utmost credit is due to those who assisted in extinguishing the flames. The fire originated in a back room of the hotel occupied by the “boots”; but cause of the outbreak is not at present known. The contents of the room were destroyed.Coleraine Chronicle, 18th September 1909
CARRIG-NA-CULE HOTEL, PORTSTEWART, FAMILY AND COMMERCIAL (NO LICENSE); New Lounge added; overlooking most beautiful bay in Ireland; convenient to Golf Courses, 9 and 18 holes. Moderate rales. Special for large families. SAMUEL R. HENRY. Proprietor. G.P.O. Telephone No. 3. Wires – Henry, Portstewart.Belfast News-Letter, 2nd June 1910

Trudger

"I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

9 thoughts on “Carrig-Na-Cule Hotel Portstewart

  1. Lovely post. Oh how elegant the ladies were back then. Nice job on the colorization!
    Thanks for this glimpse into life back then.
    A moment of peace, things here in the US being so weird and tense at the moment.

    1. thanks for the reply. Delighted that you liked the post (and the colourisation). Yes, the ladies were elegant.

      In recreating that moment in time, it really helped me get a feel for my parents wedding day.

      Hope you are staying safe and well. 2021 has to get better.

  2. Wow, what a lovely post, sets off so many happy memories of the ‘young folk’ back then, that we have had the pleasure of meeting since. What struck me was the local weather station is located at Aldergrove, it must have been of such huge comfort to sisters Sarah and Ellen Mulholland as the ship they sailed from Glasgow to New Zealand on in 1875 was named the ALDERGROVE.

    1. Hi Helen. Wow, I hadn’t realised that there was also a ship called Aldergrove.

      It gives me food for thought – to maybe look out the origins of the name, Aldergrove. Who knows, maybe a future article!

      Aldergrove was always the name of the international airport in Northern Ireland. It is just outside the town of Antrim.

      Thanks for your kindness and new year wishes. All my very best wishes to you and your loved ones for 2021. Stay safe.

  3. Great start for 2021 – You truly bring me a great deal of pleasure every time you update with another story. Thank u so much & I hope u continue for a long time yet. Have a safe, healthy & prosperous New Year.

  4. Tricia, thank you so much, for such lovely words. It’s a labour of love.

    I guess with being in my late 50s, and seeing the loss of several uncles, aunts, and others in the generation above me, in the past few years, it has focussed me, to get a lot of stuff cleaned up and written down.

    I just wish way back in the 1970s on the audio cassette recorder, that I had pressed the PLAY and RECORD buttons, and recorded all the stories of my grandparents in Eden. Now they could have told some stories of the area!

    I am delighted that you are enjoying the website articles. All my best wishes for this new year. Stay safe.

  5. Dear trudger, somehow I must’ve accidentally clicked the too prominent unsubscribe thing. OOPS!
    still reading your posts !
    stay safe, be well, keep writing your blog!

  6. Hello. Have no fears, you are still subscribed.

    the problem was not on your end. The problem was gremlins on my website.

    When I publish a new article, the website automatically sends out a notification to all the website’s subscribers.

    For some unexplained reason, on this occasion, it didn’t send out the link in the email, but merely the final part of the usual notication i.e. the unsubscribe text/link.

    Gremlins. My apologies to everyone.

    Thanks for your kind words. The website is a labour of love. I am delighted that you are enjoying the posts.

    You too, stay safe and well.

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.

 

Recent Posts

One Irish Rover - Northern Ireland, bringing history to life

ONE IRISH ROVER
Subscribe to
our Newsletter

Be the first to get
informed when new
articles are published!
[newsletter_signup_form id=1]
close-link
error: Alert: Content is protected !!