Famous shipping family to be subject of talk in Larne

The Ballylesson, one of the coal company steamers.
The Ballylesson, one of the coal company steamers.

The history of the Kelly family and their famous shipping fleet will be the subject for the next meeting of Larne Family History Society.

Guest speaker at the event will be Mr. Kelly Wilson, who is the great-grandson of John Kelly, the founder of one of Northern Ireland’s most famous shipping firms.

Mr Wilson will be talking on the history of the Kelly family from 1820, including the personal involvement of Sir Samuel Kelly in the UVF Gun Running of 1914.

He will also be talking about the Kelly Fleet in both world wars.

The company was founded in 1840 and operated for 150 years, having almost 50 vessels throughout that period, including several which had local names.

They included Greenisland, Ballycarry, Woodburn, Ballygally, Ballylumford, Ballyloran and Ballylesson.

The company also acquired the Howden Coal Company in Larne and Charles M. Legg of Carrickfergus during its development.

The talk takes place on Monday, October 16, at 7.30pm at Larne Lawn Tennis and Bowling Club, and is free for members and £3.00 for visitors.

This will be the second talk of the season for the group, with a successful visit last week from Gillian Hunt from the Ulster Historical Foundation.

She outlined the value to family history research of Landed Estate Papers, including Rental, Leases, Wage Books, Maps and Land Agents papers as well as potential for yeomanry and muster rolls.