Monaghan visit fosters links south of border for Ballycarry

Members of the Ballycarry and Drum groups during the visit to the County Monaghan village. INLT 17-660-CON visit1
Members of the Ballycarry and Drum groups during the visit to the County Monaghan village. INLT 17-660-CON visit1

Ballycarry Community Association looks set to develop links with a community in County Monaghan, following a successful visit across the border at the weekend.

Members of the Association travelled to the small village of Drum near Newbliss as part of a cross-border exchange supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.

The group were given a tour of the village and heard of community initiatives there over the past few years.

They visited a local wildlife garden and lakeside picnic area developed by the Drum Community Development group and also the pre-school and after school facility - Wee Drummers - which has been developed in a former national school.

The Ballycarry delegation were also shown the local primary school, which is one of a number of Presbyterian Primary Schools in the Republic of Ireland.

There are currently 28 pupils and two teachers at the school, which forms part of the Presbyterian Church and hall complex.

During the visit, the group were also shown around the Presbyterian, Church of Ireland and Free Presbyterian churches and enjoyed lunch and a discussion on community activities in the Protestant Hall, which is also home to Drum Accordion Band.

“We believe that the strong Ulster Scots traditions of both Drum and Ballycarry, as well as common issues as rural communities, provide us with a good basis for developing links,” said Community Association chairman Dr. David Hume.

“We hope that we will have a return visit to Ballycarry for this year’s Broadisland Gathering and were very impressed with the calibre of the accordion band, members of which performed for us at the end of our visit, as well as a Presbyterian Youth Club musical group and a piper from a nearby band,” he said.

Members of the Association were highly impressed with the work which the Drum community had engaged in over the years and have taken back several ideas from the visit.

Several months ago, four members of the Association spent the day in Drum meeting with the local community to prepare the way for last weekend’s visit, and it is now hoped that a similar visit from County Monaghan representatives will take place in the near future.