In a unique opportunity to portray the intriguing maritime heritage of the Ards Peninsula and North Down in Northern Ireland, seven communities have produced a maritime history of each of their locations – Portaferry, Portavogie, Ballyhalbert and Cloughey on the Ards Peninsula and Donaghadee, Groomsport and Ballyholme on the North Down coast.
The project is supported by the EU’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the SEUPB (Special EU Programmes Body). This is an initiative of the European Union which has been designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland. It provides support to projects that contribute towards the promotion of greater levels of peace and reconciliation. The Programme also places a strong emphasis on promoting cross-community relations and understanding in order to create a more cohesive society.
Ards and North Down Borough Council was awarded £3.3M from the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme to deliver the PEACE IV Action Plan and a total of 19 projects are being rolled out across the Borough.
One of these projects involves a programme which engages communities across the Borough to explore jointly their shared maritime history and develop connections linked to what each community has in common thus creating more cohesive communities. The project will improve cross-community cohesion between groups, particularly in rural towns and villages by jointly exploring their shared history and heritage.
Each of the seven communities has produced a large display panel telling stories, illustrated with photographs, of important people, shipwrecks, businesses, tales of bravery and memorable history particular to each location. The aim is to make available this information in the form of a travelling exhibition, online material, touch screen access and eventually an App telling the same stories. The panels are the property of each community to be also used as they think fit.
Pulling this together is Copius Consulting, a Belfast based company who have facilitated the programme implementation as a delivery agent commissioned by Ards and North Down Borough Council Peace IV Programme.
Match-funding has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.