Originally called the Belfast Field Naturalists Club, initial meetings were fortnightly and in the first season, as well as Islandmagee, the club visited Randalstown and Lough Neagh, Comber and Strangford Lough, Drumbo and the Giant's Ring, Carrickfergus Castle, Magilligan, Whitehead and finally Woodburn Glens.
Club members on The Honeycomb at the Giant's Causeway, Co,. Antrim. This famous image was taken on Thursday morning 11th June 1868 by 'the well known photographic artist, Mr Mack of Coleraine'.
The club badge (right) was based on the original logo (left) which was designed by John Vinycomb. The motto 'Fiat Lux' is latin and interprets as 'Let there be light' - or more literally 'Let light be made'. It includes one version of the Belfast Coat of Arms.
It is written on the arched sky; it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature; it is that which uplifts the spirit within us. John Ruskin
The club was formed as the first of a series of Field Clubs in response to the increasing interest in natural sciences in Victorian Ireland. The first public meeting was held on the 6th March 1863 in the Museum Buildings, now the Ulster Museum. Ralph Tate drafted a Constitution and the first field trip was on the 6th April 1863 when around 88 members travelled to Islandmagee to collect fossils.
A list of original Members, Rules and Annual Reports for the years from 1864 to 1947 can be viewed through the Biodiversity Heritage Library as well as viewed online through Google Books. As expected, early Field Trips are documented in great detail with interesting illustrations included in later reports.
Google Books 1864-1873
Biodiversity Heritage Library (1867-1868) Vol 1 No 4-5
Biodiversity Heritage Library (1865-1866 and 1868-1874) Vol 1 No 3 and 6-10
Biodiversity Heritage Library (1873-1880)
Biodiversity Heritage Library (1880-1947)