As Broadisland Gathering celebrates its 20th anniversary, Larne’s deputy mayor stresses there’s a lot to build on

Larne deputy mayor, Cllr Mark McKinty presents the best band in parade trophy to John Fittis of Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band. INLT 36-609-CON
Larne deputy mayor, Cllr Mark McKinty presents the best band in parade trophy to John Fittis of Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band. INLT 36-609-CON

Larne Deputy Mayor Cllr Mark McKinty has renewed calls for a strategic approach to the development of Ulster Scots cultural heritage locally.

Speaking after the 20th anniversary of the Broadisland Gathering, he was positive about the ‘East-West connection’.

“Larne is not only geographically very close to Scotland, but intrinsically linked both culturally and historically” he said. “Ballycarry welcomed Scots who, almost 400 years ago, established the first Presbyterian congregation in Ireland.

“The east-west connection is vitally important and has great potential to stimulate the local economy through cultural tourism. The Broadisland Gathering hosted the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra as participants in the festival, a party of over 30 people who stayed for the weekend in the borough,” he said.

Continuing to highlight the benefits of Ulster Scots tourism, Cllr McKinty noted “a wide range of national and international visitors, including six guests from Manchester, and others from America, Spain, Germany and Israel, to name but a few, all staying a minimum of one night in the local area”.

“I must congratulate the organisers of the Gathering who, for 20 years, have seen the potential of developing close personal links with Scotland. There is also the very successful Cairncastle Ulster Scots festival who welcome an array of guests.

“I reaffirm my committment to developing a strategy which will allow further development of these links which will not only benefit the local economy, but will provide opportunities for local community groups, churches, and other organisations in the area, and I look forward to enhancing the very successful work carried out to date,” said Cllr McKinty.