Northern Ireland centenary: community champions celebrated at booklet launch

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has officially launched its NI Centenary project booklet ‘Looking Back, to Look Forward: Mid and East Antrim 1921 – 2021’.

Pictured is Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey with Philip Thompson, Acting Chief Executive; Angeline King, who created the poem ‘Home’ as part of the project’s creative initiative and inscribed on the stone tablet featured; Councillor Cheryl Brownlee, Chair of Council’s NI Centenary Working Group; Mukesh Sharma, Chair, National Lottery Heritage Fund Northern Ireland Committee and Jayne Clarke, Museum and Heritage Manager.
Pictured is Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey with Philip Thompson, Acting Chief Executive; Angeline King, who created the poem ‘Home’ as part of the project’s creative initiative and inscribed on the stone tablet featured; Councillor Cheryl Brownlee, Chair of Council’s NI Centenary Working Group; Mukesh Sharma, Chair, National Lottery Heritage Fund Northern Ireland Committee and Jayne Clarke, Museum and Heritage Manager.

The fully illustrated 55-page booklet features content from the project’s centenary exhibition which is currently on display at The Braid Town Hall, Museum and Arts Centre.

The exhibition covers themes such as partition and the creation of Northern Ireland; sense of place; the Second World War; education, health and welfare and popular culture drawing on Council’s museum collections.

Free copies of the booklet are available for exhibition visitors.

The booklet highlights other project contributions since May 2021 as well. These include an engaging film ‘Women in Politics’ based on interviews with five female elected members as a citizenship resource for secondary schools; a new poem entitled ‘Home’ written by Ulster University writer in residence, Angeline King, created after a series of workshops with three primary schools in the borough and a range of fascinating local history research contributions compiled by 20 Looking Back to Look Forward project volunteers.

A reference section sign posts on-line information for those who would like to carry out their own research on 100 years of Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the launch of the booklet, Mayor, Councillor William McCaughey said: “I am delighted that Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has led the way in our area’s marking of this highly significant milestone. We have used the anniversary of the creation of Northern Ireland to reflect on everyday life across the decades since 1921 and to look to the future, showcasing our borough as a forward thinking and well-connected place, with huge potential.

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“We would like to acknowledge the support provided for our Looking Back, to Look Forward project through a Shared History Fund grant from the Northern Ireland Office, distributed by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.”

Chair of Council’s Northern Ireland Centenary Working Group, Cllr Cheryl Brownlee congratulated project volunteers before presenting them with a special certificate of appreciation. “Despite the difficult backdrop of the Covid pandemic, I would like to pay tribute to the dedication and ability of our Looking Back, to Look Forward community volunteers who gave their time and talents to ensure that our Centenary project has a strong community voice," she said.

"The volunteers come from across our borough – from Cullybackey, Ballymena, Whitehead, Carrickfergus, Larne and places in between and their research interests have been just as varied. Their contribution have made a significant difference to the impact our project has made.”

Chair of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Northern Ireland, Mukesh Sharma MBE, was the evening’s special guest. He commented: “We are delighted to support Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s ‘Looking Back, to Look Forward’ project through the Shared History Fund.

"The National Lottery Heritage Fund is delivering the Shared History Fund on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office to help a wide range of groups mark the Centenary of Northern Ireland in a thoughtful, inclusive and engaging way.

"This project is one of 39 projects funded through the programme and will help a wide range of people to explore the key events and moments in Northern Ireland’s history.”