A Facebook page that offers a fascinating journey into Limavady’s past has captured the imagination of thousands of people.
Close to 3,000 people have joined the public group, ‘Limavady Past & Present’.
The group was started four years ago and was the brainchild of Shane Moore, from Limavady, along with help from his friend, Matthew Harron.
Shane has since sadly passed away but, given the work he had put into the page, Matthew felt it was only right to keep it going.
“I am surprised by how popular it is, but people really like it,” said Matthew.
The page has, so far, attracted 2,870 members - mostly local people - but there are many who have joined the group who have left Limavady and are living elsewhere.
It’s not only about the past, it’s also about making memories today for tomorrow.Matthew Harron
Thanks to those who have joined the group, there are hundreds of photos on the page for people to enjoy.
To say they are diverse in their subject matter would be an understatement.
Photos portray Limavady’s rich history and its connection to ‘Danny Boy’ and Jane Ross as well as the Great War.
There are images which show how The Troubles hit Limavady and the aftermath of bombs that went off in the town centre.
There are also reminders of the many lighter and, sometimes, more bizarre moments of life in Limavady, including when the circus was coming to town.
To let people know of its arrival, elephants trundled down Irish Green Street and through the car park on Connell Street.
There are also fascinating photos showing mass demonstrations in the town centre during the Ulster Workers’ Strike.
Photos also show popular beauty spots such as the Roe Valley Country Park and Benone beach, alongside well known characters in the town, many who have passed away.
“It’s keeping the memory of so many great people who contributed to the town in so many different ways alive,” said Matthew.
Photos also show the architecture of the town and its buildings, including local landmarks like the old Town Hall and the War Memorial.
Whatever their subject matter, Matthew says the photos give people a snapshot of life in Limavady during different eras - from when the horse and cart was the favoured mode of transport to the days of flared trousers and bad perms.
Matthew believes the volume of photos posted on the page show just how eager people are to reminisce and talk about where they come from. He says it’s great to see so many old photos, especially in the digital age.
“People might think, ‘I don’t have any old photos’, but everyone does, somewhere,” says Matthew who hopes the group will continue to grow.
Matthew says it’s amazing to see people re-connect with their roots, old friends and classmates, and unearth family ties they never knew they had.
He says reaction about the page so far has been positive.
“I get loads of messages from people saying how great the page is,” said Matthew.
Family members have also been stopped on the street, he said, to be told how good the page is.
“People just love old photographs,” he said.
As its name suggests, the group isn’t just about the past in Limavady, but also about the present and Matthew is encouraging people to post more current photos.
“I’m glad everybody is enjoying the page and seeing all the old photos and I’m glad to see the page is keeping busy with all the ‘likes’ and comments, but I would like to see people start sharing photos more, so, if it’s a day up the woods, or a walk up the beach, snap away.
“I’d like to see more pictures that show how beautiful this area is,” he said.
The beauty of the page, according to Matthew, is that no matter what school people attended, where they grew up, or what church they attended, people who have joined the page are united in their sense of pride in the town.
“I want to set an example to all towns, and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that everyone in Limavady could be on it and you could create a virtual town,” said Matthew.
“I encourage people to go on and have a look and join the group. It’s not only about the past, it’s also about making memories today for tomorrow.”