Monthly Meetings

Monthly Meetings:

All members are invited to our Monthly Meetings held at The Ballymote Centre, Killough Road, Downpatrick.  We start at 2.00 pm and usually finish around 3.30 pm.

Each month we have a guest speaker, who will give a talk on a subject of interest and there is always time to ask questions.  We than  have an update on activities and other events which might be of interest to members.  This is also an opportunity to put forward suggestions or ideas for new activities. Finally, there is the opportunity to meet up and have a chat with other members

Below are the dates for forthcoming meetings and, where speakers have been confirmed, the name of the speaker and the topic they will be covering.

Also listed below are details of some of the speakers we have had over the last couple of years.

If you have any suggestions for speakers who may be of interest to the group, please let us know.

25 October 2021Rev Hector Wanliss - Life as an Army Padre
29 November 2021Dougie Marr- The Story of St Ayles Skiff
31 January 2022Billy Kohner - Holocaust Remembrances
28 February 2022Hugh Thurgate - (Head Ranger n Stranford Lough for Nationa Trust NI) Management of Strangford Lough
28 March 2022Marian & Frank McGreevy - Flora & Fauna (South Africa)
25 April 2022Alan Boyd - Artistry & Spirituality on Morris Handing - Sculptor & painter
30 May 2022Shirley Lennon - Mary Ward's Diary (Castleward connections.

We do not normally have a formal meeting in June but instead arrange a social event ahead of the summer break when we do not meet during July & August.  The December meeting is normally replaced with a seasonal lunch earlier in the month.

Previous Meetings:

25 October 2021

Our speaker for this meeting was Rev Hector Wanliss CF, who told us about his life as an army Chaplain. Hector was born into a military family in South Africa. During his early years he was a cathedral chorister and sea cadet, before doing his national service in the South African Navy. After university he became a teacher before being ordained in 1988 and covered a number of chaplaincies in different parts of South Africa. When Hector moved to the UK he initially applied to be a chaplain for the Royal Navy but having heard nothing back from them, applied to the Army. On the very day he started working with the Army, he heard from the Navy, offering him a position. The Navy being too late, Hector took up his role with the Army and was posted to a number of different regiments and various location across the world, including Kosovo, Belize, Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland, where he was based at Ballykinlar.

Hector explained that as Chaplain he worked with medical and welfare staff, to provide for the needs of the soldiers. Part of his role was pastoral visiting members of the regiment, wherever the happened to be. This meant he was often close to the front line. As well as teaching faith, his role also included teaching the values and standards of the regiment. No matter what regiment he was attached to, he worked as part of a wider team of chaplains which often included those from other countries. He would hold church services, although might well be in the most unusual settings and in difficult circumstances. He would also be involved with helping service personnel readjust to normal life after a tour of duty abroad. Hector was given a medical discharge following a heart attack and suffering from PTSD. Which may give some indication of the difficult circumstances in which he worked. However, I am pleased to say, there were some lighter times and Hector was able to recount some of his funnier experiences.

24 May 2021

At our May monthly meeting Downe u3a members heard from Ken Tait about the opportunities and resources available from the North of Ireland Family History Society.  Ken is a keen participant in the work of the very active Killyleagh branch of the society which links Northern Ireland people past and present, here and around the world.  The Society maintains and updates a significant library of books and documents which members can search for traces of their family past.

Ken told of the changes which have widened the Society’s scope, first with the advent of DNA testing and more recently the use of zoom has enabled participants in far flung places to link in with meetings.  He told how people take a DNA test for other reasons but he encouraged participants who have not yet done so to have a go and see which family links they can find.




Mike KingDown County Museum - Building
Florence McFarlaneU3A Movement
Cathie McKimmDownpatrick Opera Fringe
Terence BowmanLife & Times at Mourne Observer
Dr CampbellSt PatrickÕs Centre & Life of St Patrick
Eddie McGradyLife of an MP
George RiceHistory of Ardglass
Emma ThorpeNorthern Ireland Screen (Historical Film Clips)
Jim ManlyArtist
Yvette ShapiroJournalist & Broadcaster
Senator Maurice HayesCareer
Professor Ronnie BuchananMerchants and Planters
Albert BairdImpact India
Olive BroderickVoluntary Arts Ireland
John KillenLinenhall Library
Clive ScoularSarah Purser Ð The life of
Pat DevlinGenealogy
Ed KilgoreMourne Mountain Rescue Team
Sean NolanThe Story of ÒMy Lagan LoveÓ
Walter LoveLife and Times
Dr Phillip DonaldWorking in Guinea
Iain DavidsonDown Arts Centre
Clive ScoularDr Hans Sloane
Linda McKennaCrime and Punishment in Co Down 18th & 19th Centuries
Jo WhatmoughA Life in Wildlife Conversation
Howard Goslyn18th & 19th Century Plant Collectors
Helen HoneymanA Tour of Iran
Finbar McCormackHistory and Folklore of Holy Wells
Kevin QuinnA Tour of Ireland Through Poetry
Sarah McCandlessPatient & Client Council
Peter McCannRennaisance Art
Madeleine McAlisterHistory of Underwear
Helen HoneymanTravels in Uzbekistan
Avril Milligan (Rowallane)Herbs
Brian KennedyHistory of Modern Irish Art
Janice HolmesA Social History of Down
David ParkWriting
Michael HealyWaste Not, Want Not
Susie MillarTwo New Pennies Ð Grandfather lost on the Titanic
Julian GreenwoodBirds of County Down
Brian BlackSailing in the Artic Ocean
Raymond & Sheila Crea and Maureen KellyTravels in Vietnam and Cambodia
Avril MilliganSpring Plants
Clive ScoularHenry Blackwood
Stuart PollardU3A Trust
Janet McLeanNational Gallery Celebrating 150 years
Roma TomeltyCareer Highlights
David AndersonHospitality at Hillsborough Castle
Diana GledhillTravels in Kamchatka
Julian GreenwoodBirdlife in South of France
Lisa MallonAlzheimerÕs Society
Tony & Rose MurphyTravels in Isreal
Dot BlakelyWater Birds on Quoille
Dr Brian McElroyChiropratric Treatment
Maria NobleHistory of Black People in the British Isles
Susan PriceNepal
Tony McAuleyWriter & Broadcaster
George BusbySecret Listeners of Gilnahirk
Norman KerrHarry Ferguson
Frank McGreevyCamino Walk
Manson BlairThe Sinking of the Titanic Ð the Alternative Story
Alan DrysdaleArds TT Races
Acting Up Group
Rosemary DohertyFather Dan CUmmings
John HannaConfessions of a Collector
Neil PorteousThe Development of Mount Stewart Garden
Marie MullanThe Geneva Window by Harry Clarke
Catherine McAnallenVolunteering Overseas - Any Granny Can
Ernie WilsonMourne Ramblings
Sandy SmithCS Lewis's links with County Down
Alan BucknallPower to our Children
Ernie CromieUlster Aviation Society
Tim CampbellThe St Patrick Way
Anna LoHer Life & Political Career
Samuel ReidThe Dogs Trust
Norman WeatherallHow we used to shop in Belfast
Simon MaltmanCrime Fiction Writer
Sheena WilkinsonHer life story as an author
Gerry MillerCreating a Memoir
Marie Therese Rogers-MoloneyThe Sins of my Mother
Martin CareyMourne Heritage Trust
Richard ParkinsonColditz
Leslie SimpsonRecipes from Down Museum Archive
Maria NobleThe History of Black Music
Richard GillDealing with Scams - Ulster Bank
Nicola MacDougalEnergy Efficiency in the Home
Vicky ChambersUlster Wildlife Trust
Michael McKeagHeraldry
Billy McCulloughLocal Cinemas
Helen HoneymanTravels on the Silk Road
Cecil LowryThe Life of Frank Pantridge
Anne DonnellyNI Film Archive
Doreen McBrideTales from County Down
WRDABowel Screening
Dr Patricia Marsh1918/19 Flu Pandemic in Ireland, Ulster & Downpatrick
Hubert CurranFrom Killyleagh to the Galapagos Islands
Ken TaitNI Family History Society