Belfast Telegraph

Councils unite to drive up Ulster-Scots tourism

NORTH Down and Ards has been hailed as "the home of Ulster-Scots" in a new tourism App launched by the two borough councils.

As part of a joint venture the two boroughs have used funding provided by the Ministerial Advisory Group Ulster-Scots (MAGUS) to launch the free App which will take users on an audio tour detailing the history and stories of the main Ulster-Scots sites of interest including Bangor Abbey, North Down Museum, Newtownards Priory and Grey Abbey.

A comprehensive biographies' section which details the lives of the most influential Ulster-Scots settlers, including Sir James Hamilton and Sir Hugh Montgomery "fathers" of the settlements in the early 1600s, is accompanied by an extended places of interest section and image gallery along with a driving route map and interactive quiz.

Speaking at the launch of the App, Ards Mayor Stephen McIlveen said: "We are delighted with the launch of this App. The Boroughs have long been seen as the birthplace of the Ulster-Scots and using this new technology gives us another opportunity to spread knowledge about and create interest in our history to visitors and locals alike."

The App will also aim to boost the local tourism economy in the area by mapping local visitor needs such as accommodation, attractions, activities and restaurants.

An events calendar will provide information on events across the boroughs such as the upcoming Ulster-Scots music and dance in Groomsport this summer and offers from local businesses.

Councillor Wesley Irvine, whose tenure as mayor ended after the launch, thanked the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and MAGUS for their support in making the new App possible and added: "This is an excellent example of two councils working together for the benefit of their tourism industries."

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