A FACEBOOK page offering Fermanagh users a nostalgic trip down memory lane has taken the Internet by storm, gaining over 7,700 likes in 45 countries in two months.
The ‘Old Enniskillen’ page set up by Benny Cassidy has proved hugely popular since its inception and is attracting fans from all around the world. Mr Cassidy, who was ‘born between the bridges’ and has lived in Enniskillen his entire life, explained how it all started.
“I was born in a wee street called Abbey Street, there were nine children and my mother and father. Sometimes people don’t even know about those streets, especially the younger people so one day I just got the idea. I’d been putting up old photographs on my personal page and I noticed I was getting a lot of comments and feedback so I decided to create a page devoted to this and the reaction has been amazing. The people I thought it would attract and the people it has are completely different. There’s a lot more younger people that I ever imagined. They’re fascinated because it’s their grandparents and their parents. It’s a quick look back at history.”
Since it started back in February the response online has been enormous with the page regularly attracting engagement of 250,000 and attracting interest in countries as far as New Zealand, Swaziland and Saudi Arabia.
“I put it up and didn’t know what reaction I would get, but within days it took off. I’m trying to not make it like a history lesson and make it as informal as I can and it is working so far. Word is spreading and the good thing is there is a large number of photographs and stories coming through from people.”
Mr Cassidy admits his own keen interest in local history helped inspire the ‘Old Enniskillen’ page, but the reaction from the local people has made it all worthwhile.
“I remember at the very start what encouraged me was this woman wrote to me privately. She told me her mother was 89 and most of the day she sat at the window and wouldn’t communicate much.”
He continued: “The daughter was saying that after she showed her mother the page she now looks for it and says the communication has improved so much because of it. I think that’s a lovely by-product of the page, it wasn’t designed for that, but it was certainly something that warmed me.”
Mr Cassidy is indebted to all the contributors who keep his Facebook inbox inundated with photographs, videos and stories for the page and believes the page will continue to go from strength to strength.
“As long as I still think the stuff that is going up is interesting I’ll keep doing it. I think it will continue to grow as although it has slowed down since it first began there will be new posts coming through that will engage people again.
“I’m so grateful for contributors because without them the page would slow down, as I haven’t an infinite amount of photos, but I think this page will run forever because there is such an untapped market there. It’s a light-hearted look at the history of the town.”
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition
Posted: 6:00 pm April 14, 2016