Belfast Telegraph

Cross-border sailing crew to appear on Songs of Praise

By Staff Reporter

A cross-border youth voyage is to feature on the BBC's popular Songs of Praise this weekend.

Northern Ireland broadcaster Claire McCollum meets youths from both sides of the Irish border who are working together to crew a Tall Ship.

She discovers the determination of some of the young generation on the vessel to put the past behind them and cultivate a peaceful future.

The young Atlantic Youth Trust crew from Northern Ireland and the Republic who sailed from Drogheda to Carlingford Lough were filmed on board the Waterford-based Brian Boru, a restored gaff-rigged wooden sailing ketch, adapted for carrying passengers on voyages of discovery of heritage and wildlife.

During the programme the young people discuss their experiences on the ship - and what faith means to them. The programme, which this week comes from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, is expected to be viewed by more than a million regular viewers of the long-running BBC flagship religious show.

The Atlantic Youth Trust is a maritime charity which aims to bring young people from Northern Ireland and the Republic together for youth development voyages on a purpose-built Tall Ship.

It plays a significant role in furthering peace and reconciliation across the island of Ireland.

Atlantic Youth Trust executive director Neil O'Hagan explained that Carlingford Lough was the perfect place to explore the trust's work.

He said: "The idyllic setting, that is literally on the border, provided the perfect backdrop to explain what the Atlantic Youth Trust does - and to give the producers the chance to hear first hand from the young crew on board the ship."

He added: "Given the joint government support for the project, this will only strengthen the overall case for developing and integrating young people on Tall Ships."

Songs of Praise is on BBC One at 4.15pm tomorrow

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