Posts from the ‘Culture’ Category

Pipe Up! – Road to the World’s

The Piping season is in full swing in Northern Ireland with several competitions already having taken place.  This Saturday see`s the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland Branch Tyrone championship take place in Dungannon followed by the Mid-Ulster Section competition on 12th June as always held in Cookstown High School playing fields.  There are a plethora of events taking place with an itinerary on the RSPBANI website ( http://www.rspbani.org/viewcalendar.php )
The RSPBANI has a new promotional video produced in association with Tourism Ireland:
Pipe Up! – Road to the World’s
R.S.P.B.A Northern Ireland Branch Promotional Film
Produced by Image Media Films | Supported by Tourism Ireland
http://www.rspbani.org/viewmultimedia.php?id=1#
Spied a bus in the video with the Free Presbyterian consider Christ ad on it:-
http://www.doingsomethingmoreforgod.blogspot.com/
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Maiden City Festival continues to develop

The Maiden City Festival just gets bigger and bigger and shows what can be done with a once controversial event.  There are several websites of importance.  Discover Northern Ireland (http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/Maiden-City-Festival-Londonderry-Derry-P16025 ) & the Derry Visitor ( http://www.derryvisitor.com/Festivals-in-the-City-2010.T613.aspx ) sites promote the event as a `flagship celebration of diversity in Northern Ireland`. The News Letter carries an informative article today by William Allen looks at the festival.

The Official Festival website with full itinerary is at:
http://www.maidencityfestival.com

With the accompanying tourist oriented Siege Heroes Trail website at:-
http://www.siegeheroestrail.com

Along with the connected Apprentice Boys of Derry website at:
http://www2.apprenticeboys.co.uk

They also have all the usual social media sites on the go:-
http://www.youtube.com/user/MaidenCityFestival
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maiden-City-Festival/109602072347
http://www.flickr.com/photos/maidencityfestival

Maiden City Festival is ‘a symbol of hope’ http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Maiden-City-Festival-is-39a.6287677.jp Published Date: 12 May 2010 By William Allen

THE Maiden City Festival in Londonderry seems to get better every year and, while its success in tackling misperceptions about the Apprentice Boys of Derry may be difficult to quantify, it is nevertheless without question. There is a belief that the lack of major confrontation and organised protests during Apprentice Boys parades these days is not just due to a process of negotiations under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce, but to the proactive steps taken by the Loyal Order to promote itself and its history.

Current Assembly Speaker, William Hay is one of those who has played a part in securing successive agreements on parades in Londonderry and he is in no doubt that the Maiden City Festival has had an impact.
“It’s been a hugely successful initiative, and one that deserves more funding to ensure it keeps growing, funding that will allow the organisers to plan further ahead.

“What the Maiden City Festival has done is help educate the wider community on the culture and history of the Apprentice Boys; it’s led to a better understanding of what the organisation is about. It’s a symbol of hope in this city in terms of parading,” said the Foyle MLA, who is himself a prominent member of the Apprentice Boys.

The Maiden City Festival is described on its website as “a showcase for Protestant culture of tolerance and openness, and for the heritage that is entrusted to the Apprentice Boys of Derry. The Maiden City Festival is the way in which the Protestant community of Londonderry, a minority community, is able to make a contribution to the life of the City and to the diversity of cultural expression”.

That contribution has so far been considerable, and what makes it even more impressive is that it has worked so well despite limited funding.

While funding has sometimes been an issue, with the festival having to rely on obtaining funds from one year to the next, it’s safe to say that it delivers terrific value and has grown considerably since it was first mooted as a way of correcting misperceptions that Protestant culture was all about parading. William Hay is not the only person to believe that it’s been a significant success story, as more and more local organisations see a dividend from participation.

Highlights have included Bluegrass on the Walls, and a tribute to William Love, performed by the Black Skull Corps of Fife and Drums. And one of the other initiatives that has proved popular – and is therefore being expanded – is Culture Bite, a diverse range of lunchtime performances in cafés and lunch spots; another aspect deemed worthy of expansion is the Siege Story, which offers a way of more fully exploiting the historic backdrop of the city’s walls.

One of the organisers, David Hoey said: “We are looking to expand the diversity section in terms of growing our Culture Bite cafe/ lunch programme.

And with the Siege Story we are hoping to provide short performances around the walls, enhancing the attractiveness of the walls as a tourist feature.”

He said the thinking behind the festival was to show how much Protestant culture could contribute to civic life and, despite changes in funding, it was working.

Mr Hoey said: “When we started it was the height of the parades issue and one of the important things we believed was that we needed to get away from the notion that Protestant culture was only parading. We wanted to show the Protestant community had something very positive to contribute to civic life.

Commemorations are an important part of the week but the festival itself is part of the cultural footprint of Londonderry.

“We had around £10,000 from the Community Relations Council the first year and around that from the city council, and funding has gone up and down, but we have a festival that’s three or four times bigger.
“We also have learned to extract cultural value from the resources that are already there. Also, in 1998 we were on our own, but now there is much more collaboration and we are hoping to work on building on that in future years. We always wanted it to be the foundation of something we could grow.”

Growth is measurable – while sections are expanding, the number of visitors going to the Memorial Hall, with its exceptional museum, grew considerably last year.

Hopes are high of even greater success this year, as the Maiden City Festival organisers have embraced modern media, with a website, a Youtube channel, a weblog, and a presence on Facebook and Flickr.

While the main events take place over a one-week period in August, work goes on in the background pretty much all year round, not least recently in terms of making the most of high tech developments and the social networking opportunities afforded by the internet.

“We have developed a substantial web presence and have launched a podcast,” added Mr Hoey.

“It’s a matter of progression. If you include the Apprentice Boys of Derry, our web presence is getting 120,000 visits a year. Our Youtube site has had 30,000 views in the past year. We have 25,000 visitors engaging during the festival week but the number has been expanding. This has been our first big year of a web presence, and we will be tracking the impact of that,” explained Mr Hoey.

The hopes are that people will now know much more about the history of the Apprentice Boys or the Maiden City Festival and will see that Londonderry is worth visiting in August, with the promise of excitement, entertainment and spectacle over that week in August, leading up to August 14 when the Relief of Derry parade gets under way.

Asked whether the festival had achieved everything hoped of it when it was first envisaged, Mr Hoey said its contribution has been “significant”.
He added: “People are more prepared to take a look.

I think demonisation has gone, and we are moving into better understanding.”

2013 has become an important date in Londonderry, due to the bid to become UK City of Culture and the Maiden City Festival is developing ambitious plans, that can be more fully explored once this year’s event has passed. And those plans will hopefully be developed whether or not Londonderry wins the UK title.

Mr Hoey concluded: “We have 2013 in our sights…we have an exciting project on our hands for 2013. We are always trying to plan ahead and change the shape of things – a festival needs to be constantly changing. We are always looking at what offers potential, and then making it reality.”

Red Hand, Shared Hand & some Ulster history

Found this interesting collection of images on Mark Thompson`s Flickr as well as an interesting new blog post about his newly published leaflet `Sir Thomas Smith’s forgotten English Colony of the Ards and north Down in 1572` to be launched in Ards Arts Centre (the old Town Hall) on Friday 14th May. Published through Loughries Historical Society (and without the help of Mr Balmoral the booklet would never have happened!), with the printing funded by Ards Borough Council, North Down Museum and the Ulster-Scots Community Network, it lifts the lid on what was going on in the Ards and north Down before the Lowland Scots arrived with Hamilton  and Montgomery  to settle exactly the same region in May 1606. The booklet has 40 pages in total, and is lavishly illustrated throughout with some very rare maps and portraits which took ages to track down. You can read more about it here:- http://ping.fm/2Qd3z

<img src=”pFound this interesting collection of images on Mark Thompson`s Flickr as well as an interesting new blog post about his newly published leaflet `Sir Thomas Smith’s forgotten English Colony of the Ards and north Down in 1572` to be launched in Ards Arts Centre (the old Town Hall) on Friday 14th May. Published through Loughries Historical Society (and without the help of Mr Balmoral the booklet would never have happened!), with the printing funded by Ards Borough Council, North Down Museum and the Ulster-Scots Community Network, it lifts the lid on what was going on in the Ards and north Down before the Lowland Scots arrived with Hamilton  and Montgomery  to settle exactly the same region in May 1606. The booklet has 40 pages in total, and is lavishly illustrated throughout with some very rare maps and portraits which took ages to track down. You can read more about it here:-
http://clydesburn.blogspot.com/2010/04/sir-thomas-smiths-forgotten-english.html

Red Hand, Shared Hand
http://www.flickr.com/photos/23736570@N08/collections/72157605481399378/
The Red Hand of Ulster is a symbol which has been misrepresented and misunderstood for at least the past generation. This Flickr gallery is an ever-growing collection of images of cross community, non-political, non-paramilitary usages of the Red Hand of Ulster – a symbol which should be reclaimed and restored to mainstream usage.

(With thanks to the many people who have sent me images to include here)” alt=””>

Red Hand, Shared Hand
http://ping.fm/Iif5B
The Red Hand of Ulster is a symbol which has been misrepresented and misunderstood for at least the past generation. This Flickr gallery is an ever-growing collection of images of cross community, non-political, non-paramilitary usages of the Red Hand of Ulster – a symbol which should be reclaimed and restored to mainstream usage.

(With thanks to the many people who have sent me images to include here)

‘Educating Ourselves’ A Phenomenal Success In Co. Fermanagh

Orange Standard

‘Educating Ourselves’ A Phenomenal Success In Co. Fermanagh
http://ping.fm/fzSDM
Article 4 ~ April 2010

Enniskillen District Hall was packed on the evening of Tuesday 16th March for the presentation of certificates to the participants of a very successful Educating Ourselves programme, devised by Schomberg House.

The Grand Master, Robert Saulters and Deputy Grand Master, Edward Stevenson both journeyed down to make the presentations to a long line of 175 people who all took part in the programme. The programme was run in conjunction with Fermanagh District Council and was held in four venues across the County which were Brookeborough, Enniskillen, Irvinestown and Lisnaskea. The course consisted of four weekly modules made up of historical talks, quizzes, roleplays, musical sections and discussions. Participants were taught about the Williamite Wars, the formation and growth of the Orange Order, turbulent times in the 19th century and its role in modern society.

As well as being educational, the course proved to be very entertaining for both the tutors and participants. The audience in the District Hall were treated to some of the entertaining roleplays on the night.

As well as being presented with their certificates, the participants were also able to meet the staff of Schomberg House who had all travelled down for the occasion. Our archivist Dr Jonathan Mattison, was on hand to examine artefacts which people had brought along and give advice on other historical matters. He was very excited to see a teapot from 1688, believed to have been rescued from the time of the Siege of Londonderry, which was brought along by Mrs Valerie Johnston.

Also on hand was our Director of Services, Dr David Hume, who gave information on the Sir George Clark Memorial Bursary Fund and also gave the participants an insight on how the Orange Standard newspaper is put together each month. Mrs Linda Maye advised on Orange Standard accounts and the Lord Enniskillen Memorial Orange Orphan Society and Elaine Huddleston brought the Schomberg Shop which proved a big hit with the Fermanagh Folk.

The Community Education Officer, David Scott acted as compere for the evening and ensured everything went smoothly. He thanked Fermanagh District Council for their financial help in getting the programme off the ground and also praised the efforts of their Good Relations Officer, Tommy McLaughlin for his hard work throughout. He also thanked the County Fermanagh Grand Lodge Officers for their support and praised the three tutors who gave up their time to successfully deliver the programme – John Orr, Joe Graham and Barrett Rennick. He thanked his assistant Claire Acheson for the administrative support provided throughout the programme and his other colleagues down in Schomberg House for the roles they played in making the night a success.

The Education Officer said that he hoped that other councils would come on board so this very successful programme can be repeated throughout Northern Ireland. http://bit.ly/bpH48D

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