Friday, September 07, 2012

Ulster Covenant Centenary events in the Ards


I'm pleased to update readers here that a wide range of activities are being planned for the Ards area to mark the 100th anniversary of the Ulster Covenant. The forthcoming exhibition will have its first public showing will be on Saturday 22nd September at the free Commemorative Family Day in Londonderry Park which runs from 11am - 4pm. Keep an eye out for the doordrop leaflet which will be delivered to approx 20,000 homes over the next week or so to promote all of the activities. ( Most if not all of the contributors to the exhibition are regular readers here, so thanks to every one of you - I won't name you just yet!).

One of the themes in the exhibition is to tell some of the stories of those in the area who opposed the Covenant, who supported Home Rule for Ireland - and importantly of the positive neighbourly relations which remained throughout the period. People had differing political opinions and religious traditions, but were determined to remain good neighbours.

The rural Ards is not a perfect place, and there are of course some hotheads in various localities and communities, but these positive relations can be seen back in 1606 when Scottish families arrived here with Hamilton & Montgomery, through the 1798 period, through the 1912 Covenant period, and they remain the norm here today. This is an important message, especially with recent events in Belfast. Long may those positive community relations continue.

As the Newtownards Chronicle report of September 1912 observed, the Ards had "...none of that bigotry and sectarianism, alas, too common in other areas..."