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An Illustrated History

Harry Allen

The picturesque County Down port of Donaghadee was once renowned as the 'gateway to Ulster'. Russian Archdukes, literary luminaries like Keats and Boswell, and penniless migrants by the thousand all fetched up at its quay.

Then, abruptly, in 1849, the passengers stopped coming. Faced with almost certain bankruptcy, the town's energetic burghers swapped their cutters and chandleries for candy floss and kiss-me-quick hats, and turned the gritty port into a mini tourist mecca.

This book recalls the once bustling port's halcyon days. We learn of its inglorious brush with the slave trade, of the mercurial rise of its embroidery industry, and of the impact of the 1798 Rebellion. We read of heroic rescues, catastrophic shipwrecks, and of the part the town played in the UVF gun-running of 1914, when policemen turned their faces to the pier wall so that they could truthfully say they had seen nothing.

This entertaining, insightful, and beautifully illustrated book brings Donaghadee's history to life.

The publishers would like to thank Ards Borough Council, Gordons Chemists, Muir Higginson, William Montgomery & Nicholas Day, and Pier 36 for their generous sponsorship of this book.

Book Details

ISBN 978 1 870132 31 2

Paperback 136 pages, 90 colour & B&W illustrations

Book Reviews

"Bright and breezy, like Donaghadee on a fine day." Ulster Archaeological Society Newsletter

"Allen, a long-established and highly respected leader in the field of local studies for well-nigh thirty years... neatly combines narrative with authority... to produce a very attractive and readable local history." Familia

"Well illustrated - bursting with archival images - and nicely produced, with a thoroughly researched text, it brings local history to life." Ulster Tatler

"Donaghadee may look like a sleepy harbour town whose only noteworthy feature is that its lighthouse was once painted by Brendan Behan in a rare moment of sobriety, but it was once the Dover of Ireland... As well as recounting the town's best stories, Harry Allen introduces us to some of its most memorable characters... fascinating stuff." Belfast News Letter

"If a book is produced by Peter Carr at the White Row Press, that in itself is an automatic indication of excellence. The Donaghadee book is so well presented that even someone who may know nothing of this delightful town will be drawn in. Many of the details are fascinating, like the story of Mary Anne Miskimmon, who lived long enough to see the first train arrive in Donaghadee and the last one leave, in 1950. As always with White Row, the quality and depth of the picture research matches the way in which the author has been encouraged into producing such textual quality. The end result is an absolutely impeccable local history, with all the references to source material clearly delineated; even the sponsorship, so necessary in this kind of book, is handled with the utmost taste. Donaghadee proves that if narrowly focused local history is done properly, it can be every bit as interesting and exciting as the great sweeps of world history." Books Ireland

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