Members of Newtownabbey Arts and Cultural Network (NACN) enjoyed learning about Irish history during a recent visit to Dublin.
The trip was part of the group’s ‘Looking Back, Moving Forward’ project, which is aimed at promoting cultural education in Protestant areas.
A total of 26 local residents aged 13 to 70 years participated in the programme, which was match funded by Newtownabbey Council and the Community Relations Council.
Six workshops took place over the course of the project, including those focussing on the Protestant Reformation, Siege of Derry, Battle of the Boyne and the Home Rule Crisis.
David McCallion from War Years Remembered accompanied the group on their visit to Dublin and facilitated several workshops.
David Crooks, NACN Co-ordinator, said the trip, which also involved a stop at the site of the Battle of the Boyne en route, had been “a great success.”
“Dublin holds so much Protestant history that it is a must for people to engage in these types of programmes,” he said.
“We visited St Patrick’s Cathedral where there is a chair that King William III himself sat on, and the amount of British history it holds would make you think you were in London.
“We toured Glasnevin Cemetery and saw the graves of Eamon de Valera and Michael Collins. We also saw the memorial to the men that gave their lives in the Great War,” he added.
Pointing to Newtownabbey’s own rich history, such as the grave of King Fergus near Monkstown and King William III’s links with Whitehouse, Mr Crooks said that NACN is now planning to set up a ‘history club’ for anyone interested in local and Irish history.
Anyone who would like to get involved with the new group should call David on 07864 857560.