Precious book to be exhibited at new Saint Columba centre

Pages from the school book of thirteen years old Edward Boyle. (DER3013PG015)
Pages from the school book of thirteen years old Edward Boyle. (DER3013PG015)

A precious exercise book penned by a 13 year-old boy in 1891 has been returned to the Wee Nuns school in Derry after more than 120 years.

Declan Houston donated the book written by his great great grandfather’s brother, Edward Boyle, to the St Columba’s Heritage Centre this week,

The book had previously been given to him by his grandmother Teash Gallagher.

My grandmother’s brother John who lives in Cork gave the book to her,” explained Declan.

“My grandmother was raised by her grandfather Michael, who was Edward Boyle’s brother.

“The book was written in 1891 or 1892 and Teash gave it to me because I was looking in to the family’s history.

“It is in pretty good condition considering it was written more than 100 years ago.”

Originally Declan wasn’t sure where the book originated, however by chance he met voluntary worker Ivor Doherty in the grounds of Long Tower Church one day.

Ivor who is also a member of the Contents Storage group of the St Columba’s Heritage Centre was able to verify almost immediately that the book came from the Wee Nuns School.

The Houston family then decided that it would be fitting to place the book in the Heritage Centre alongside other artefacts when it opens in 2014.

“I asked Teash and she decided it would be good to hand it over to the Heritage Centre,” explained Declan.

“Teash used to work in St Cecilia’s College and knows the chairperson of the Aras Colmcille Trust Grainne McCafferty who was a former principal at St Cecilia’s.

“We are delighted that the book will be put on display and that future generations will be able to see it.”