Monday, September 24, 2012

Ards & The Ulster Covenant - the story of a community

The 'big picture' political story of the Ulster Covenant is everywhere at the moment - radio, tv, newspaper and events. Tonight I spoke at the launch of 'Ards & The Ulster Covenant' exhibition which is now on display at Ards Town Hall until 6th October before then starting a 'tour' of other towns and villages across the Borough. I worked on the exhibition with a number of other folk who are readers here (go and see the exhibition - they are all named on the acknowledgements).

It takes a different angle, telling the grassroots story of the Ulster Covenant in the Ards area - of people, events and stories that the standard accounts gloss over. The panels are entitled:

• The Ards in 1912
• Connections with Scotland
• Home Rule and the Idea of the Ulster Covenant
• Public Rallies in the Ards
• Famous Ards Signatories
• The Women's Declaration
• Ards Folk who signed Beyond Ulster
• Differing Views, Mutual Respect
• From Ulster Covenant to Northern Ireland

There is also a large map showing the locations where the Covenant was signed in the area, with small bar charts of the numbers of men and women who signed. It's intended for a local audience, so therefore the approach is to tell local stories - this meant that fresh research was critical, to unearth themes and accounts that haven't been seen in 100 years. Various artefacts have also been uncovered and included - such as the handwritten Covenant from Ballywalter, and the Ballyfrenis banner.

If you live in the area or have some connection here, make a point of going along to see it and drop me a line to give some feedback.


Detail from map panel:


Some quick snaps