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just curious, Joe

Joe, I would like to know and perhaps other readers too how the name "rushlight" came about? Was it a "flash of inspiration" or is there a tale to it?

Re: just curious, Joe

This might explain Rusty ....
Away back about 1956, I would have been about 12 years of age, myself and my father rode on bikes from Ballymurphy over the Hightown Road to the Village of Mallusk, it was just to be another excursion on a sunny Sunday, one of many that we would have taken, but this trip was to be different, it left a lasting impression on me and indeed influenced my life. After having bought ice cream at the tin hut that passed for a shop/kiosk, we wandered into the nearby old Cemetery, nothing new in this, we often looked at old headstone inscriptions on similar treks, we had been to Ballycarry to the grave of the Ballycarry Martyr, young Willie Nelson and indeed , viewed in the same graveyard the tomb of James Orr, “The Ballycarry Bard“ , we had been to Templepatrick to see where the noble William Orr resting in the grave of his beloved sister “Ally“. as I have said, this trip was nothing different,,, but it was….“Here is the grave of Jemmy Hope the ‘98 man, his wife Rose and sons, in that grave lies his other son, Luke”, my father said, “and just there is the grave of Biggar.. ”.

Somehow my eyes became transfixed on the stone to the right of Jemmy Hope‘s.. to that of his son Luke, it seemed sad to me that he was buried there alone while all his family were together under the other stone.. And what was this Rushlight mentioned on his gravestone. It was later that I learned that “The Rushlight” of Luke Hope may be viewed by many as a failure.. and yet.. This “failure” rose him to “eminence? , I was impressed by the success of the failure of “this simple mannered man” and his humble “Rushlight”, named after a form of candle used by the working class. I read the inscription on his stone and was to return there many times over the years to read it again and again, later, I brought my own children and my grand children…..it reads…

To the Memory of

Luke. M. Hope

(Editor of the Rushlight)

Whose life was distinguished


The superiority of his talents

The purity of his principles


The simplicity of his manners

This monument

is placed by a few of the many friends

Who valued his worth

And regret his premature death.

The tear that we shed though in secret it rolls

Shall long keep his memory green in our souls.

Luke Hope, a compositor, launched his
“Rushlight” on Friday, December 3rd 1825 from Clarke & Hope’s General Printing Office, High Street, it was an eight page paper and sold for 3 (old pence), Luke’s dream faded with issue number 41 on September 9th 1826 after only 10 months this issue carried, “The Last Will And Testament Of Rushlight” in this will Luke wrote that although no coaxing or canvassing was made for unsolicited patronage for the journal .. “the encouragement received, however above our deserts, has been insufficient to ensure our success . After an “ephemeral” existence, our paper, is this day extinguished; for want either of intrinsic merit, or adequate support”.. and so the “Rushlight” was sadly extinguished . Luke Hope went to work for a while at “The Northern Whig” but was dead soon after, at the young age of 33, yes Luke partook a little too much of the old “Water Of Life” …Luke may have had a fondness for strong drink.. but he had a dream…and as a drunk once said, “I may be lying on my back in the gutter,, but I am looking up at the stars“, things may not always be as they seem. And so, I rekindled the “Rushlight” in 1972 , I took the name of Dr. Drennan’s “Belfast Magazine” and since then used it as a sub title. and have kept it lit ever since, by Luke’s principles, ie, never, never did I coax or canvass support from any quarter what so ever, no grants, no advertising, it sinks or swims on its own merit.. and yes, I am sure there are many commercial wizards who would see my “Rushlight” as a failure” but hey, I love the success of failure and if I have kept the Rushlight lit these 32 years .. I know I have not besmirched the memory of the noble Luke Hope by using his papers name in a way he wouldn‘t.. .. Little did I think, back on that sunny day in 1956 I would be doing this for the biggest part of my life… and I still enjoy it, and of course “Rushlight” has survived all these years through the support of you readers, together.. “we have kept It Lit”,…“Kept Luke Hope’s memory green”

Re: just curious, Joe

Wow!!! and Wow!!! again, Its unblieveable that such a simple query would garnish so much history,character and unrelenting sucess due to your persistence to follow through keeping the candle burning. I salute you for seeing the value and importance of its meaning and your endeavour to respect the history of it all. I'm totally in awe because I felt it may not carry any significance and having said that, felt that it was an odd title not to have a reason. Its another piece of history worth savouring. Its totally amazing how you can explain in absolute depth the history of it all. Wiky has nothing on you. Your truly a "history buff" My sincere respect and admiration goes out to you. Have a nice week.

Re: just curious, Joe

Same to you and family Rusty .

Re: just curious, Joe

And don't forget Rusty .... Joe Graham's Rushlight Magazine celebrates its 40th year in existence this year.

Joe, you have been a part of all of our lives for these past 4 decades. Illuminating the real history of this wee part of the world with the light of the 'rush'.


Re: just curious, Joe

Indeed, w.w. Joe, the renound historian has every reason to hold his head up high and be happy and proud to have carried the torch that still burns bright to this day. History is a very important part of our life, and Joe reminds us time and time again the price tag of freedom. Congratulations Joe, You filled my breakfast plate with so much history this morning that I forgot to congratulate you on your 40 years of "rushlight Magazine". History is a "look back" window of the world and the perpitrators try to whitewash that window and silence history but its history that silences them. Where is cromwell, the boul william and other dictators like hitler. the silence is deafening.
Keep up the good work joe

Re: just curious, Joe

Joe, I'm sure I have a Rushlight without a number on it, I think it's one of the first ones, But to confirm it, I will have to get through the Glory Hole to get at my cardboard box collection.

Will let you know the cover story when I get the box down.

Congratulations on the 40th anniversary of the Rushlight.

Regards to you and your family.


Re: just curious, Joe

I rarely numbered then Hugh, but I would have an idea ok when it was prinyed and thank you for your good wishes .

Re: just curious, Joe

Rusty thank you for your remarks , I have always found you to be a great source of support and encouragement, thank you for that .

Re: just curious, Joe

Thank you Whiterock Wander lol , watch this space re Rushlight 40th Anniversary celebration