Broadisland Festival booklet celebrates Gathering’s history

The history of Northern Ireland’s longest-established Ulster Scots Festival is set to be put to book.

The Community Relations Council has supported a proposal from Ballycarry & District Community Association to publish a booklet, detailing the festival’s history, and how it grew over the years.

The booklet, which is being launched at a special event in Ballycarry Community Centre, starting at 7.30pm on Tuesday, February 23, will examine the origins of the festival in September, 1993, and how it has become the longest-established Ulster Scots community festival in Northern Ireland. Photographs taken over the years will also feature in the 68-page colour publication.

Community association chairperson Valerie Beattie said that the group felt that the time was right to set the history of the Gathering in print. She added: “It is a fantastic record of the Broadisland Gathering and it has been really interesting to read about it, as when you are involved with something you tend not to have as much of an overview.”

Festival director Dr David Hume said that participation in an International Fund for Ireland community leadership programme in 2012 had given valuable insights. “Those of us who participated in the programme were given insights into community development theory and we were able to see how it fitted into our own experience as a group,” he explained.

Everyone is welcome to attend the launch event. Admission is free, but copies of the booklet will be on sale and any profits will be put back into the festival.

At its height the event has attracted around 5,000 visitors.