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Belfast Trip

 

On Wednesday the 22rd of June, participants of the hIsTory Links Project boarded busses bound for Belfast. First stop was the Ulster Museum beside Queens University and the Botanic Gardens.
 
The Museum was full of art, objects and artifacts through the centuries and millennia. The trip was fast paced and we only had 2 hours to see around the building. For many this was not enough. If anyone else plans to visit the museum all agree that one would need at least 3 hours to get around the Museum and see all that is there.

The group then moved on for lunch in the Wellington Park Hotel after which we were picked up by a double decker bus for a city tour. The route of the tour took in all the old buildings and important sites of the city, the Titanic Quarter, the Falls and the Shankill. The guide was very funny and the 90 minute trip flew by. We finished just outside Belfast City Hall and we went inside for a look!
 
The tour of City Hall was an unexpected highlight of the trip. We had access to every part of the building. We climbed the red carpeted marble staircase, viewed the portraits of the previous Lord Mayors and entered the Robing Room, where in the past, members of the council got dressed in their finery prior to meetings.We then entered the Council chamber and took our seats on the council benches.

We were given a history of the chamber and the different pieces of furniture around it. At that point the tourguide allowed anyone who wanted to have their picture taken in the Lord Mayor’s seat.

The tour was fantastic and a nice way to round off a great day away in Belfast, who would have thought Belfast had more to offer than concerts and shopping?!
On Wednesday the 22rd of June, participants of the hIsTory Links Project boarded busses bound for Belfast. First stop was the Ulster Museum beside Queens University and the Botanic Gardens.
 
The Museum was full of art, objects and artifacts through the centuries and millennia. The trip was fast paced and we only had 2 hours to see around the building. For many this was not enough. If anyone else plans to visit the museum all agree that one would need at least 3 hours to get around the Museum and see all that is there.

The group then moved on for lunch in the Wellington Park Hotel after which we were picked up by a double decker bus for a city tour. The route of the tour took in all the old buildings and important sites of the city, the Titanic Quarter, the Falls and the Shankill. The guide was very funny and the 90 minute trip flew by. We finished just outside Belfast City Hall and we went inside for a look!
 
The tour of City Hall was an unexpected highlight of the trip. We had access to every part of the building. We climbed the red carpeted marble staircase, viewed the portraits of the previous Lord Mayors and entered the Robing Room, where in the past, members of the council got dressed in their finery prior to meetings.We then entered the Council chamber and took our seats on the council benches.

We were given a history of the chamber and the different pieces of furniture around it. At that point the tourguide allowed anyone who wanted to have their picture taken in the Lord Mayor’s seat.

The tour was fantastic and a nice way to round off a great day away in Belfast, who would have thought Belfast had more to offer than concerts and shopping?!

Straight from the Horse's Mouth Book Launch

 

On Monday evening the 7th of February a crowd of over 200 people gathered in the Alley Theatre, Strabane, Co.Tyrone to witness another proud accomplishment of the hIsTory Links Project which is funded by the International Fund for Ireland. ‘Straight from the Horse’s Mouth’ is a compilation of stories and pictures from the East Donegal and West Tyrone area which have been woven together to form a shared story of the entire area.
The night began with speeches by Mr. Raymond Craig, a member of the project steering group, who talked about how the project came about. It was born out of an application written by North West Regional College, Co. Donegal Vocational Educational Committee and Lifford Clonleigh Resource Centre. He praised the contribution of his colleagues on the steering group, Brid Foley (Lifford Clonleigh) and Martina Needham (Co.Donegal VEC).

Project Coordinator, Stephen McNamee then spoke to the audience about how the book was brought together. “Early into the project we realized there was a wealth of talent in our groups. The written pieces that were being produced were of an exceptional standard and most were first hand accounts. It was clear at that stage that we would have to publish them in some format in order that a wider audience could share in them”. The book was organised around four central themes: Agriculture, Industry, Transport and Border. Each of the individual stories are woven together into chapters that seem to flow effortlessly into one another. “We are extremely proud of the finished result. It showcases the talent we have locally and also makes it very clear that no matter in what town or community you were brought up, we share a very similar and common history”. He continued “Finally, I would like to congratulate each and every participant in the hIsTory Links Project, because without their stories and creativity we would not have this book we are launching tonight”.


The book is full of firsthand accounts in participants’ own words but there are also groups and individuals who went about recording local people with amazing stories to tell. One such story is of Paddy Gillespie from Strabane who was interviewed by Dolores O’Kelly about the border and the years of smuggling that surrounded it. This very humorous video interview was screened on the night and turned out to be much better than the Hollywood comedies that appear weekly in cinemas. The back wall of the theatre was nearly blown off by the gales of laughter!

Commenting on the hIsTory Links Project Book launch, Winston Patterson, Board member of the International Fund for Ireland, said: "The International Fund for Ireland is proud to support this innovative and exciting project which uses information and communications technology to promote reconciliation through the exploration of local history.  In cross-border projects we often speak about building bridges.  hIsTory Links is working to build 'e-bridges' which are supporting communities of different identities to engage with each other.  I am confident that this project will assist participants in gaining a greater understanding of their communities, of the value of mutual respect and understanding."


The book was formally launched by local man Joe Mahon of ‘Lesser Spotted Ulster’ fame. Joe was glowing in his praise for the book, “This work of compiling and recording first hand experiences of local people is extremely worthy. This is much more important than academic studies of history and is our best way of documenting our local story”. Joe talked about the links made between different communities and the common stories and experiences each share. He finished by reading a passage from the book that grasped his imagination.


There is now a wealth of information, stories and recordings available both in the book and on our project website www.historylinksproject.com This is a wonderful resource to the wider area and we would welcome submissions from anyone who would want their own story published online commented Stephen McNamee speaking after the launch event.

On Monday evening the 7th of February a crowd of over 200 people gathered in the Alley Theatre, Strabane, Co.Tyrone to witness another proud accomplishment of the hIsTory Links Project which is funded by the International Fund for Ireland. ‘Straight from the Horse’s Mouth’ is a compilation of stories and pictures from the East Donegal and West Tyrone area which have been woven together to form a shared story of the entire area.
The night began with speeches by Mr. Raymond Craig, a member of the project steering group, who talked about how the project came about. It was born out of an application written by North West Regional College, Co. Donegal Vocational Educational Committee and Lifford Clonleigh Resource Centre. He praised the contribution of his colleagues on the steering group, Brid Foley (Lifford Clonleigh) and Martina Needham (Co.Donegal VEC).

Project Coordinator, Stephen McNamee then spoke to the audience about how the book was brought together. “Early into the project we realized there was a wealth of talent in our groups. The written pieces that were being produced were of an exceptional standard and most were first hand accounts. It was clear at that stage that we would have to publish them in some format in order that a wider audience could share in them”. The book was organised around four central themes: Agriculture, Industry, Transport and Border. Each of the individual stories are woven together into chapters that seem to flow effortlessly into one another. “We are extremely proud of the finished result. It showcases the talent we have locally and also makes it very clear that no matter in what town or community you were brought up, we share a very similar and common history”. He continued “Finally, I would like to congratulate each and every participant in the hIsTory Links Project, because without their stories and creativity we would not have this book we are launching tonight”.


The book is full of firsthand accounts in participants’ own words but there are also groups and individuals who went about recording local people with amazing stories to tell. One such story is of Paddy Gillespie from Strabane who was interviewed by Dolores O’Kelly about the border and the years of smuggling that surrounded it. This very humorous video interview was screened on the night and turned out to be much better than the Hollywood comedies that appear weekly in cinemas. The back wall of the theatre was nearly blown off by the gales of laughter!

Commenting on the hIsTory Links Project Book launch, Winston Patterson, Board member of the International Fund for Ireland, said: "The International Fund for Ireland is proud to support this innovative and exciting project which uses information and communications technology to promote reconciliation through the exploration of local history.  In cross-border projects we often speak about building bridges.  hIsTory Links is working to build 'e-bridges' which are supporting communities of different identities to engage with each other.  I am confident that this project will assist participants in gaining a greater understanding of their communities, of the value of mutual respect and understanding."


The book was formally launched by local man Joe Mahon of ‘Lesser Spotted Ulster’ fame. Joe was glowing in his praise for the book, “This work of compiling and recording first hand experiences of local people is extremely worthy. This is much more important than academic studies of history and is our best way of documenting our local story”. Joe talked about the links made between different communities and the common stories and experiences each share. He finished by reading a passage from the book that grasped his imagination.


There is now a wealth of information, stories and recordings available both in the book and on our project website www.historylinksproject.com This is a wonderful resource to the wider area and we would welcome submissions from anyone who would want their own story published online commented Stephen McNamee speaking after the launch event.

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