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Agency Celebrates Links with United States

16 January 2019

The Ulster-Scots Agency recently held an event ‘Transatlantic Kinsfolk - A celebration of Ulster-Scots links with New England’ to launch three new videos that links place names in Ulster with place names in the USA and celebrate the development of a new multimedia learning resource entitled ‘Land of Promise’.

This special launch event was one of two events taking place on 14th January to celebrate the partnership between The Ulster Scots Agency based in Northern Ireland and also the Maine Ulster-Scots Project based in the USA.

Both events were held in their respective cities, Belfast, Northern Ireland and Belfast Maine, USA – cities separated by a distance of 3000 miles and 300 years of shared history.

Many towns and cities across America and significantly in New England, were named by Ulster-Scots settlers after places from home that they left behind. For example, in the state of Maine, USA there are a number of towns such as Newry, Bangor and Belfast. The town of Londonderry, New Hampshire for instance was established in 1719 by Rev James McGregor from Aghadowey celebrating its tercentenary in April this year.

During the summer, the Ulster Scots Agency commissioned a film crew to visit New England and record people and places for the production of these three videos that celebrated our close links and shared history and heritage.

Furthermore, this launch also celebrated the development of a new multimedia learning resource entitled ‘Land of Promise’. Aimed at primary schools, this resource tells the story of the first organised migration of Ulster-Scots to America in 1718. It includes lesson plans, videos and images to support teachers in their classrooms and uses the story to help teachers explore modern day issues of migration within their classes.

The Ulster-Scots Agency has set up a learning partnership with five primary schools in Maine, USA and six primary schools in Ulster. Through this partnership, children on both sides of the Atlantic will learn about Ulster-Scots history, migration and how these early settlers played significant roles as pioneers, patriots and even presidents in America. This will encourage the schools to work together, share experiences and work and most importantly learn about one another and their shared history.

Speaking about the event, Richard Hanna, Director of Education and Language commented; ‘There are very close Ulster-Scots links between Ulster and America. The Ulster-Scots Agency has a range of projects designed to raise awareness about these links both past and present.’

‘The videos showcase towns in Ulster and America that share names as they were named by Ulster-Scots settlers reminding them of the places they left behind.’

He continued; ‘Land of Promise is an exciting multimedia learning resource developed by the Ulster-Scots Agency and designed for primary schools. A learning partnership has been established of schools in Maine and Ulster. Children in these schools will learn about our shared history and collaborate with each other to share understanding about each other and the communities in which they live.’

To find out more about these recent videos as well as this new learning resource for schools, visit