About Us

The group was established in 1998. The society has always been concerned for the preservation of the heritage of the local area. For example, in recent years the society was associated with the restoration of St Patrick's well and the cleaning and resetting of the granite stones around the Four-stone Tree, a longstanding Blessington landmark.

Manor Kilbride grave-yard survey.
To promote an interest in family history, a comprehensive survey of the old grave-yard in Manor Kilbride was undertaken in 2007-8. The results of the survey, which has been put on a database, augments previous work undertaken by memberson the transcription from the registers of births and marriages 1822-1852 and 1852-1900 for the Catholic parish of Blessington. The society has made available information from these sources to people (many of them outside the area) who were undertaking family research. Copies of the transcribed registers and the Manor Kilbride grave-yard survey can also be consulted in Blessington library. Members are currently recording the story of some of the older residents of the Blessington area.

Individual members researching family histories have used facilities such as National Library, National Archives, Valuation Office, Church Representative Body and the Downshire Estate Papers in the Public Records Office North Ireland (PRONI).

Gyves Shop.   Fair day in Blessington.

Mowing.
Archival material gathered and held by the society includes a collection of old photographs of local people, dwellings and farm machinery, while historical records include copies of maps and documents relating to the Downshire estate.

The society tries to forge links with other historical groups. In this context, a common link between three local history groups, Blessington, Edenderry and Lisburn, was found to be the Downshire family who were local landlords in the 19th century for all three areas. This link has resulted in reciprocal visits involving the three societies.

Similarly, the society is affiliated to:

Outing to Hillsborough.
Society outings have been organised from time to time to places of national and local interest, such as Hillsborough Castle, home of the Downshire family, Newbridge House, Donabate, built by the Cobbe family, onetime landlords of Lacken and Ballyknockan, Ballylow townland, from where some eighty people were evicted by the Downshires in the aftermath of the Great Famine, and Ballynabrocky townland where a monument erected by the third marquis of Downshire commemorates the commencement in 1831 of Coronation Plantation.

The Committee, which meets at regular intervals throughout the year, elected at AGM each February.

There are 25 full members, Lectures can have an attendance of up to 50.

Five lectures by visiting speakers are held during the year normally on the third Thursday of month in St Kevin's Community Centre.