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Dalaradia puts case for new council's name

THE Dalaradia Historical group would like to take this opportunity to submit Dalaradia as the new name for the Mid and East Antrim Council.

It would be a common identity name for a super-council moving from a shared past to a shared future. It is not to be confused with Dalriada, which was accepted and had to be disregarded as the new name for Newtownabbey Council in 1967. As the people of Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne continue their steps to a new pluralist society and come to terms with the last 2,000 years, it is timely to remind them of their ancient history and Kingdom which encompassed the geographical area of the new super-council.

Among the oldest and most powerful Ulster kingdoms in the first millennium of the Christian era was Dalaradia, whose political, literary and cultural traditions helped establish Ulster's pre-eminent role in Ireland's history. From its ancient passage tombs in the valley of the Six Mile Water, dolmens at Islandmagee, the ancient area of Larne and the royal seat of Moy Linny east of Antrim town, to the territory of Carrickfergus, not forgetting St Patrick's sojourn at Slemish enslaved to the Dalaradian chieftain Milchu, it is a landscape crowded with the stories of our people.

One example of our saints was St Comgall, born in 512 at Magheramourne, who went on to found the monastic settlement at Bangor and was known throughout the world as Bangor The Great.

The story of Dalaradia offers hope that our society can one day cease to view aspirations of Britishness and Irishness as constant sources of conflict and instead celebrate them as proof of our shared inheritance.

ROBERT WILLIAMSON

Dalaradia Historical Group

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