Shakespeare’s Hamlet tells Horatio “there’s a divinity that shapes our ends rough hew them how we will”.
That is clearly illustrated over the past few weeks by the sudden death of the North Antrim historian Alex Blair on the last day of June and by the death after a period of illness of Mid-Antrim historian Dr Eull Dunlop on August 3.
Both men will be greatly missed by very many for they were outstanding in their academic ability and gifts over many decades and as historians will be irreplaceable.
They knew each other well and there are those of us who can recall very well attending meetings at different venues, especially in Ballymena town hall when Alex Blair, Sandy Spence the mayor of Ballymena and Dr Eull Dunlop held their audiences spell bound with the details of historical facts well blended with humorous stories from their respective townlands of Dungorbery, Kilraughts; Ballywatermoy, Glarryford; and the village of Connor where Dr Dunlop was born and reared.
I was indebted to Dr Dunlop when in the early 1990s he edited two of my researches ‘The Armoy Athletes’ and ‘McIlmoyle of Dervock – Pastor of Two Flocks’ which were published by the Mid Antrim Historical Group of which Dr Dunlop was the secretary.
Rev Robert Hanna, Retired Reformed Presbyterian Minister, Ballymoney