A PRESENTATION on the Broadisland Gathering Ulster Scots festival in Ballycarry was made at a prestigious Ulster Scots tourism day organised recently by the Ministerial Advisory Group on Ulster Scots.
The group was established by then-Culture minister Nelson McCausland to advise on how to bring forward proposals for the Ulster Scots community and its development and is working at a number of levels to encourage greater awareness of Ulster Scots.
The Ulster Scots Tourism day event brought delegates to Carrickfergus to visit the Andrew Jackson Centre, which the Ministerial Group recently provided funding for.
The event then moved to Bangor, where the North Down museum was another venue which was visited, while presentations were made at a conference in the afternoon in a local hotel.
Three representatives of Ballycarry Community Association made a presentation on the Broadisland Gathering and other local community initiatives.
Cllr Mark McKinty outlined the growth and development of the festival, while Valerie Beattie spoke of how the event had positively impacted on the local business and civic community and Janice King outlined new initiatives to train tour guides in the area which include the Weaver’s Trail project surrounding the legacy of James Orr, the weaver poet.
Those present heard how the Gathering has developed over the years to an event which attracts five to six thousand people each September.
Conference facilitator Mark Thompson, who is the past chairman of the Ulster Scots Agency, praised the efforts of the local group, saying that it highlighted what could be done at a local level.
Other delegates also congratulated the group on its efforts over the years.
Presentations were also made by North Down Borough Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board before workshops were held to discuss the potential of Ulster Scots heritage from a tourism perspective.
Among the present at the conference were representatives from local government, the travel industry, individuals and businesses working in tourism and the main tourist agencies.