Speaker for 5th February 2019
Coleraine Probus and the home of 'The King of Tory Island'
The speaker at the first meeting, that the new Club President John McGlade presided over, was the well-known local historian, Jim Hunter. Jim's talk was a fascinating story with a mix of factual history and Island Folklore, all based around the last King of Tory Island.
The King of Tory Island
This is the story of an Atlantic Community. When God was creating the world on the sixth day there was a pile of precious stones remaining which, when thrown out of heaven, landed nine miles off Ireland’s N.W. coast. Thus the island of Tory was formed.
Tory is approximately three miles long and half a mile wide with a population of about 150 distributed among four villages. East Town, West Town, Middletown and Newtown. This is an egalitarian society with a Christian imprint on a pagan culture and a King chosen by the consensus of the islanders.
Looking East from Westtown
The last King was the artist, Patsy Dan Rodgers, who acted as a spokesperson for the island community and welcomed visitors as they disembarked from the ferryboat. Sadly he died in October 2018.
Despite it’s small size Tory Island is rich in historical and mythological sites. Jim’s talk and presentation gave an outstanding commentary on the social, musical, ornithological and mythological history of the island. From Balor the pirate king in the myths of time, to Columcille the monk in the sixth century, and then on to an artists colony, encouraged by English artist Derek Hill who settled on Tory Island in 1956.
The ancient Tau 'Cross' at the Harbour
Today, the Tory Island tradition lives on in language, music, dance and the real sense of 'community' that lends itself to the island's great and wonderful tales.
The King of Tory, sitting at the Harbour to welcome visitors
- o O o -
(Once again, many thanks to Graham for the help with this write-up)
For another look at most of Jim's presentation and get a glimpse of another 'Kingdom' where time has almost stopped, 'Click' the little Tory Island outline below.
And if you want to read more about the island and its history (both real and imagined!), then 'Click' this link for an interesting read (please note that this will open in a new window)