Belfast Society honours founding President with visit to Ahoghill

Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society have honoured their founding president with a visit to his final resting place in Ahoghill.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 8:22 am

Dr James Lawson Drummond is buried alongside his third wife, Eliza O’Rorke in Ahoghill Old Graveyard.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston and his wife Victoria, were special guests at a social event organised by the Society - one of to celebrate their 200th Anniversary across 2021 - which included a visit to Dr Drummond’s grave in Ahoghill.

The Society was established in 1821 in Belfast to promote the study of natural science, history, philosophy and the scientific study of animals, plants, fossils, rocks and minerals. Its role is primarily educational and cultural. Over the years it has published occasional books and has run a lecture series.

Mayor & Mayoress Johnston pictured alongside Dr David Johnston, Chairman of Ulster Architectural Heritage, Prof Alun Evans, President of Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society, Prof Pascal McKeown, Dean QUB Faculty of Medicine

Mayor, Councillor Johnston said: “The Mayoress and I were delighted to attend this special occasion that honours Dr Drummond, a distinguished 19th century intellectual, who was born in Larne and buried in 1853 in one of our notable old graveyards in the borough.

“The Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society that Drummond founded had the aim of encouraging advancement within the fields of arts and science. His ambition strikes a chord with our Council aims to support technological innovation, lifelong learning and the pursuit of excellence.”

Professor Alun Evans of Queen’s University Belfast - who is the current Chair of the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society said: “Our event at Ahoghill marked the Bicentenary, to the exact day – June 5, 1821 - on which our Society was established.

“Our Founding President made a highly significant contribution to intellectual life and scientific debate in Belfast in the early 19th Century and, indeed, throughout Ulster and beyond.

“We included a visit to his graveside and St Colmanell’s Church of Ireland in the village to view the fine Memorial Plaque to Drummond. We also visited St Paul’s Catholic Church.

“The Society is hoping to raise sufficient funds to refurbish the grave in Ahoghill, to help preserve his memory for posterity.

“We are delighted that the Mayor and Mayoress attended and would like to thank Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for their assistance with our plans.

“Thanks are also due to Dr David J Johnston and the Maine Medical Practice for support and hospitality,” said Professor Evans.