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Broadisland Gathering

01 September 2017, 08:00, Various, Ballycarry

Runs to 04 September 2017

The Broadisland Gathering was founded in 1993, and annually attracts considerable numbers of Ulster Scots and those with an interest in Ulster Scot culture to what is normally a quiet Ulster village, located within sight of the Scottish coast. This year the festival starts on August 26 and will run until September 4, with a series of events throughout that time.


Events will include;

  • Cookery Night, Community Centre, September 1, 7.30pm, with Arlene Thompson and guests. Learn about Ulster Scots dishes and sample some of the tasty bites which are made in the kitchen on what has traditionally been a great wee event! Admission £4.00 pay at the door
  • Folk Fer All night, September 2, 7.45pm, admission £5.00, featuring Ulster Scots musicians and headline Irish folk group Na Leanai from County Down, marking the historic first appearance of an Irish folk group at the event. This is sure to be a night of great fun and great music, so make sure to get it into your diary!

The main day of the Gathering will be Saturday, September 2, when there will be a wealth of free entertainment, displays and stalls to mark the 24th annual Gathering in the heartland of the Ulster Scots. Events run from 11am until 5pm.

The Gathering is a cross-community event in terms of the audience which it attracts, and it is clear that everyone sees it as a fun day within the context of a shared space for celebration and entertainment.

Ballycarry is overwhelmingly Scottish in origin, and the modern village was settled by William Edmonstone of Duntreagh in Stirlingshire in 1609. Edmonstone, who had come to County Down with the Hamilton and Montgomery settlement, obtained 2,800 acres of land at Broadisland or Braidenisland, now modern Ballycarry. The Gathering thus reflects this outstandingly strong Scottish heritage.

The event started with support from Larne Borough Council and attracted several hundred people. In 2005 the police estimate of numbers was in the region of 3,000 and in 2007 5,000 to 5,500. In 2008 despite poor weather conditions in the morning of the event, an estimated 2,500 were present. In 2009 the estimate was that upwards of 2,000 people attended the event, which was competing with other major events including the Gig on the Bann Festival and the Portrush Air Show. In 2010 we estimate around 3,000 visitors attended the event. In 2011 the largest number of visitors to date - in the region of 5,000 to 6,000 people attended throughout the Gathering Festival.

The event shows every potential of growing, given continued grant and business support and enhanced efforts are being made to raise funds locally to help with sustainability. The organisers are also hoping for corporate sponsorship, and ideas are welcome!

Typical events at the Gathering include pipe bands, drum major displays, musical groups, singers, storytelling and poetry, exhibitions, vintage vehicles, re-enactors, village fair, children's entertainments, a pageant parade, pet show, history walks and concerts. The unique family atmosphere which exists is a strong selling point and we have been delighted in the past to welcome visitors from the Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland, Canada, the United States, Germany, Spain, Hong Kong, Australia and elsewhere.

In 2011 our estimate is that 6,000 people attended the Festival, which was the largest number to date. You can also find more details on our Friends of the Broadisland Gathering facebook site. The 2016 Gathering marks 24 years of the festival with a wealth of musical talent and entertainment lined up.



10.45am Sloefield Road through Carrickfergus Vintage Military Vehicles parade 11.00 start (arriving Ballycarry est. 11.30)



Main Marquee Fairhill

11.00am-11.30am – Mounthill Junior Drummers & Drummers Call (11am at amphitheatre then walk to marquee for 11.20am)

11.30am-12.45pm –  Risin’ Stour (including…)

11.45pm Clan Chieftains Presentations 2016/Official opening

12.00pm – 12.45pm Royal Scottish County Dancers

12.45pm – 1.15pm Kathryn Stewart Highland Dancers

1.15pm – 2pm Scad the Beggars

2pm-2.30pm Larne Choral Society

2.30pm-3.45pm Stonewall

3.45pm – 4pm Major Sinclair Memorial

4pm – 4.20pm Blog readings by Angeline King

4.15pm Band parade from Fairhill

4.45pm Main parade to Fairhill

5.30pm-6pm Songs fer Hame: Colin Patton and Iain Irvine


Community Centre

12noon – 12.30pm Iain Irvine

12.45pm – 1.45pm Alistair Scott Ceilidh Band


Community Centre Car Park

1pm – 1.45pm Medieval Scots Re-enactors

2pm – 2.30pm Star of Knockagh Accordion Band


Main Street at Beatties

11.30pm – 12 noon Alistair Scott Ceilidh Band

12 noon – 1pm Dead Poet’s Society Tour to Templecorran

12 noon – 3pm Guild of Craftswomen display

11.30  – 4.30 pm Vintage military vehicle display

12.30pm – 1pm Billy Teare, Memory Man

1pm-2.00pm Drum Major Display

2pm – 3pm Creative Ulster Scots re-enactorsAngeline King

3pm-3.15pm Burning Bush Fife and Drum

Templecorran Cemetery

1pm Community Wreath Laying at the Hutchinson, McCready & McMaw Graves. Bugler and Piper required


Fairhill Amphitheatre

11am-11.30am Mounthill Junior Drummers & Drummers Call (co-ordinated with marquee)

11.30am – 11.45am Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band

12 noon – 12.45pm Scad the Beggars

12.45pm – 1.45pm Killyglen Accordion Band

1.45pm – 2.00pm The Somme: Dr. David Hume, Colin Patton, David Swann, John Fittis

2pm Blog reading by Angeline King

Community Centre Green

11am-12 noon Pet Antics

Fairhill East

11.30-3.30pm First World War Re-enactors

2pm-2.30pm Harry Ferguson Memorial Pipe Band

Main Parade

4.15pm – 4.45pm from St. John’s Church to Fairhill


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