Crowds celebrate 20th anniversary of Broadisland Gathering

Isaac and Michael Fairfowl watching the Broadisland Gathering marching past. INLT 36-383-PR

Isaac and Michael Fairfowl watching the Broadisland Gathering marching past. INLT 36-383-PR

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THE 20TH anniversary Broadisland Gathering saw large crowds throng the centre of Ballycarry for much of Saturday and the organisers believe visitor numbers exceeded those of previous years.

Pipe bands, dancing displays, musical groups, the Downtown Radio roadshow, the country fair and vintage vehicles all added to the occasion, as did a seafaring display and discussions on Ulster Scots language and culture.

Centre stage went to the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra, 30 members of whom attended the event. Sponsorship from P&O European Ferries and the Friends of Broadisland helped made the trip possible.

The Gathering itself was supported by the Ulster Scots Agency, Department of Foreign Affairs and Larne Borough Council.

Festival director, Dr David Hume, said that visitors from throughout Northern Ireland as well as Australia, the United States and even Israel had been among the crowds which came to the village for the event. “We would like to thank everyone for their support of the event, which marked the landmark 20th anniversary,” he said

“The team of volunteers involved in the event carried out an excellent job and the performers were outstanding. In particular the visit by the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra highlighted what the Gathering is all about - underlining our links with Scotland,”

The final event of the 2012 Gathering will be a talk by the husband of former Irish President Mary McAleese this Friday, September 7, in the village.

Senator Dr Martin McAleese will address the subject of The Challenge of the Covenant and tickets are available from CF Beattie and Ballycarry Community Centre, priced £5. Admission will be by ticket only.