The Fair River Valley – Strabane Through The Ages

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Strabane's geographical location as a gateway to the Donegal Highlands is matched by the extent to which its history can introduce us to a better understanding of the different cultures and events that have made north-west Ulster such a distinctive region.

The variousness of its history from earliest times to the recent past is superbly caught in this most comprehensive of local histories. The clan rivalries in Pre-Plantation times, culminating in the collapse of the Gaelic order in the Nine Years War, are succeeded by the Plantations undertaken in the seventeenth century. This crucial period also saw Strabane come to the fore not only for its strategic importance but as the principal town on the Abercorn estate, one of the largest landed estates in Ireland. Local historians of the past and present have pieced together the many strands of the fabric of this progressive market town and regional centre. The joys and sorrows, poverty and plenty, successes and failures contained in the stories on transport, communications, education, religion and entertainment are all the work of local experts whose peerless local knowledge and research skills are matched by their abilities to tell a good story.

This project was initiated by the late Jim Bradley in whose name the ten contributors, the Ulster Historical Foundation and the Strabane History Society are pleased not only to complete the work but to offer it as a model for other town histories. The fruit of their labour, a well-balanced and beautifully-illustrated study of a historically-significant town, will be read and enjoyed throughout the Fair River Valley and beyond.

Anthony Malcomson

Anthony Malcomson was educated at Campbell College, Belfast, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and was awarded a PhD in history by QUB in 1970. Most of his working life was spent in the Public Record Office Northern Ireland, of which he was a director from 1988 until his retirement in 1998.

His publications include John Foster: The Politics of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy (Oxford, 1978), Archbishop Charles Agar: Churchmanship and Politics in Ireland, 1760-1810 (Dublin, 2002), Primate Robinson (1709-94): 'A very tough incumbent in fine preservation' (Belfast, 2003), Nathaniel Clements: Government and Governing Elite in Ireland, 1725-75 (Dublin, 2005) and numerous articles, essays and editions.

Brian Carlin

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Canon Frederick Fawcett

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Dr William Roulston

Dr William Roulston has been the Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation since 2006.

His books include The parishes of Leckpatrick and Dunnalong: their place in history (2000), Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors (2005), and Restoration Strabane, 1660-1714 (2007).

Jack Gamble

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Jim Bradley

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John Dooher

John Dooher is the vice chairman of The Strabane History Society.

The Strabane History Society was founded in December 1989 by a group of local school teachers to further the interest and knowledge of the history of the area. The group widened the circle of interest to include the general public as it was felt that a vast wealth of local expertise and interest in the community.

Michael Cox

Michael Cox first discovered the twonlands of Edymore and Cavanalee fifty years ago when he installed milking machines on two farms there. Afetr his marriage a few years later, he and his wife moved to Edymore, staying there for over twenty years. In the 1960s he started to explore the history of the townlands following the discovery of old maps of the district among Abercorn papers at PRONI. Afetr moving to Scotland he continued his research during annual visits to the Strabane district. He was later persuaded by two friends, both Ulster local historians, to write down the story of the two townlands.

Michael Harron

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Michael Kennedy

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