THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Great rejoicing as son of the town returns from India
From the News Letter, June 25, 1844
On Friday last Captain Boyd with his family and suite arrived at the ancient residence of the Boyd family at Ballycastle after an absence of 31 years in India, reported the News Letter on this day in 1844.
On his arrival in the town he was greeted with loud cheers by a large crowd that had assembled to greet him while the joy-bells of the Chapel of Ease, which had been founded by his grandfather, “sent forth their merry notes”.
In the evening the town and neighbourhood were brilliantly illuminated with bonfires on the adjacent hills and on Rathlin Island, meanwhile the arrival of 130 colliers with torches, tar-barrels gave a remarkable scene. After parading through the town the procession made a large fire opposite the residence of the Boyds and danced the polka.
At about ten o’clock Mr Boyd accompanied by the ladies, children, his nephew, the High Sheriff of Co Antrim, made an appearance on the balcony which was the signal for loud and protracted cheering.
When silence had been restored Mr Boyd “in a neat and very appropriate speech” thanked them all for their good wishes on his family’s return home to Ballycastle. Master Boyd then stepped forward and waved his cap in the air and shouted “Success to old Ireland”.
Mr Boyd then ordered that the Temperance Hotel and several other public houses should be thrown open for the entertainment and refreshment for those who had gathered that day.
The News Letter correspondent added: “It is gratifying to add that they dispersed quietly, without the slightest breach of the peace, although it was calculated that there were not less than 6,000 persons present.”