Gathering gets underway to mark 20-year milestone

Marching through Ballycarry in the Broadisland Gathering parade . INLT 36-381-PR
Marching through Ballycarry in the Broadisland Gathering parade . INLT 36-381-PR

THE 20th annual Broadisland Gathering Ulster Scots festival gets underway this Friday, August 24, with a table quiz to mark the seafaring theme of this year’s event.

The All at Sea table quiz starts at 8pm, and admission is £3 per person, the venue being Millar’s lounge on Main Street, Ballycarry.

Next week a series of events will focus on Home Rule, with the centenary of the 1912 Ulster Covenant being another of the themes to be marked.

The Home Rule period will come under the focus of this year’s Broadisland Gathering bus tour, which takes place next Monday, August 27.

Sites association with the Home Rule issue in the local area will be visited during the event, which starts at the Fairhill in Ballycarry and will take a route through Magheramorne and Glynn into Larne, with a stop at Drumalis, the former home of the Dowager Lady Smiley.

There will be a short talk on Drumalis and the tour will hear how the estate was central of the 1914 Larne gunrunning. The bus will also travel to Larne Harbour to highlight some of the sights associated with the historic event that April of 1914.

Guide for the tour will be local historian Dr David Hume and the bus run starts at 7pm, with tickets available at £6 (including teas in Ballycarry Community Centre afterwards) from C. F. Beattie, Ballycarry Community Centre, Larne Tourist Information Centre and Carrickfergus museum shop.

The Ulster Covenant of 1912 will be the subject for talks as part of the 20th annual Broadisland Gathering.

Next Tuesday, August 28, there will be a talk on the local events of the Covenant by Dr David Hume and a presentation on the Covenant generally by Dr Jonathan Mattison, at 8pm in Magheramorne Old Orange Hall.

The talks are part of the outreach programme of the Broadisland Gathering, and adding to the occasion will be some junior lambeg drumming before the event. Admission is £3.00 to the event.

A second talk on the Covenant, from a nationalist perspective, will be given on September 7th in Ballycarry by Senator Dr Martin McAleese, who is the husband of former Irish President Mary McAleese.He will be addressing the issue of ‘The Challenge of the Covenant’.

Tickets for the talk are £5.00 and on sale from the Ballycarry Community Centre.

0n Tuesday 28 there will be a coffee morning in aid of the Clic Sergant children’s cancer charity at 11am in the community centre and Valerie Beattie will be providing memories of McGurk’s Shop at Bellahill while exhibitions on the Weaver’s Trail and Ulster Plantation will also be on display.

On Thursday night the Gathering hosts female bluegrass band Wookalily and Ulster Scots group Stonewall for a concert at the Fairhill, which starts at 8pm.

For the first time the concerts prior to the main Gathering Day are being held in the marquees at Fairhill and on Friday evening the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra will also perform there, along with Risin’ Stour. Tickets are currently on sale for both events.

On Saturday, September 1, the main Gathering will take place with a wealth of musical talent as well as exhibitions, displays, the Downtown Radio Roadshow, re-enactors, pipe bands, pageantry and vintage vehicles,