Henry Joy McCracken was – like most of his family – a textiles manufacturer by profession. He ought to have succeeded, specialising in cotton, but his radical political outlook led to his neglect of his business, and Joy, Holmes & McCracken went to the wall.
Henry Joy McCracken was, at least by modern standards, a very unlikely rebel. From a well-to-do family, the young Henry Joy branched out (his father was a ship owner and rope maker) into the most lucrative trade of the time, cotton manufacture.
I was first introduced to Henry Joy McCracken by Newryman Brian McCollum and his Folk Group in the middle to late 60s when his single lauding that character topped the Irish charts. Now that I think of it, I believe we had a copy at home.
Bagenal’s Castle, having loomed large in the history of Ulster during the 16th century Elizabethan wars, again featured in the 17th century and for all the wrong reasons. The area near the castle was the scene of a massacre of the Irish in the aftermath of the great rebellion of 1641.