Mrs. Mary Stone of Cushendall, Co. Antrim

I have intended from the very first that this web site and the newsletter From Ireland will be used to remember people by. I know that what I put on my ‘Glimpses’ page and this page will only appeal to a few, yet, some day – maybe someone will come along and read through these pages and see their ancestor in one of my extracts or in one of these tributes. Regardless, I know so far that those few who have read my extracts in ‘Glimpses’ have gained pleasure from the reading of them and I know that by including these I am achieving that which I wanted to do in the first place. Tributes is a new addition to this web site – I thought I had finally decided how many pages I was putting up the first time and had promised myself ‘No more!’. However, today I came across something in a journal and I knew that the tributes page had to be included on my web site now.


Glimpses was one of the first pages I created and the story of Mrs. Stone and Cushendall was the first extract used, so when I found this tribute I knew I had to include it. This comes from ‘The Glynns’ and it as as written. A tribute to Mrs. Stone, written by Jack McCann.

Written by Jack McCann.

Mrs. Mary Stone of Cushendall

Mrs. Mary Stone of Cushendall

“Mary Stone died on the 6th of April, 1977. Word of her death sent my thoughts jostling down the years, past ghost and ghost, to sunlit summer holidays, pictuire-postcard clear. Nothing much happened in our quiet corner of Red Bay. The tides came and went. It was all so peaceful; so personal too, even the char-a-bancs had names – like Henry McNeill’s — ‘Maid of the Mountains.’

A two mile walk to Cushendall was worth every step of the way to linger and look around in Mrs. Stone’s shop, with all the time in the world to decide what our coppers would best buy, while she talked history with the grown-ups; not the ‘far foreign fields’ stuff we were reading about in school but of people and places, customs.and curiosities in the wee townlands around us. She was a tourist attraction to visitors in search of ‘the quiet land of Erin …… “sure the man who wrote that air – ‘Aridicoan’ he called it – lived down Cushendun way. McCambridige was his name, a Gaelic-speaking ancestor of Lord Glentoran.”

In due time my children were swithering between her toys and toffees while I learned the local lore ….. “Did you know that a Chief Justice of England defended a woman from Waterfoot here in Cushendall…..?”

“Have you over heard tell of Ailsa McFredjin …?” “You’ll have seen the McAlaster stone in Cregagh Churchyard . . ?” “The Pope called the other day to talk about Eoin MacNeill … ” “Sean Murray was a gentleman . . .” “John Hewitt’s ‘Fame’, there’s a poem about poets for you …” “He could whistle like a blackbird, young Gore . . .” “Did I tell you about Shane the Proud and his …” “You’ll have to call back then.” And I did, again and again, to hear about MacDonnells and McQuillans, McAuleys and Turnlys, Crommelins and Breckenridges, countrymen and boleymen, raths and racing gigs.

The thought that one day it had to end prompted the idea of a local body to encourage interest in the story of the Glens. So when Mary Stone shut shop, for the last time she had the pleasure of knowing that the Glenns of Antrim Historical Society was carrying on where she left off, and that she was, its first honorary life-member.

Her last days were spent among her own in Clushendall Cottage Hospital as Glensfolk campaigned against a Ministerial decision to close it down. That they won was due in no small measure to their awareness of ‘their history’. Now Mary Stone is part of that history, part of the quiet land.”