Last Friday (15th February), local residents and community representatives came together for the launch of the Twin Traditions Expo at St. George’s Heritage and Visitor Centre in Carrick-on-Shannon.
The cross-community initiative, which looks at key historical events over the past 400 years since Carrick-on-Shannon and Enniskillen were granted town charters, provides a historical background to the wider programme of events planned for 2013 as part of the Carrick-on-Shannon 400 celebrations
The expo is part of a two-year Twin Traditions initiative aimed at advancing trust and understanding between both traditions in County Leitrim and on a cross border basis in Enniskillen in County Fermanagh by engaging a broad cross section of the two communities in training programmes incorporating drama, historical research and photography.
The expo showcases fifteen historical projects completed by participants in the initiative’s adult history programme alongside works from last year’s Enniskillen 400 exhibition in Enniskillen Castle.
The works provide valuable insights into the dynamics that have impacted upon both communities throughout the centuries - some of which remain relevant today.
These projects will feature in a commemorative booklet Twin Traditions Gael & Planters to be published in April.
The Twin Traditions Initiative is funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and administered by Carrick-on-Shannon Heritage Group. Funding support for the project has also been received from Leitrim County Council, Fermanagh District Council and the County Leitrim Enterprise Board.
Speaking at the launch, Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland said: “The Fund is committed to the long-term task of breaking down traditional barriers and helping to build positive relations and contact between the two main communities on the island of Ireland.
“That is why we are proud to be associated with the Twin Traditions initiative. By bringing local communities together and fostering greater understanding of over 400 years of shared history in Carrick-on-Shannon and Enniskillen, we believe this project will have a real and sustainable impact for reconciliation, encouraging diversity and promoting greater cross-community links in the area.”
Dr Johnston also expressed a collective thanks to the international donors who have supported the work of the International Fund for Ireland for more than twenty-five years: namely, the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Dr Sheila McArdle, project co-ordinator, said: “I would like to acknowledge the generous support we’ve received from the International Fund for Ireland for the Twin Traditions Project. It’s been successful in building relationships between Enniskillen and Carrick-on-Shannon which we look forward to developing further.
“It has proved a tremendous success in opening the way toward a shared future by developing friendships between people who otherwise would not have met outside this project.
“Furthermore the initiative has acted as a catalyst for greater cooperation, with participants having indicated they intend to progress other projects into the future.”