Cultural ambassador role for local history graduate

Fr Paddy O'Kane pictured at Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty during the clean-up operation.
Fr Paddy O'Kane pictured at Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty during the clean-up operation.

A young historian from Carrickfergus is to represent the borough as a cultural ambassador during a trip to the United States this autumn.

David Robinson, 25, was selected to carry out the role in Carrick’s sister city of Danville, Kentucky.

The opportunity was offered by Carrickfergus Borough Council as part of a sister cities exchange programme, with an ambassador from Danville expected to take up a similar residency in the town this summer.

History graduate David, who is also a keen drummer with Henry Inglesby’s Fife and Drum Corps, hopes to bring a greater understanding of the Ulster Scots connection to his American hosts.

It will be the first visit to the southern state for the former Carrickfergus College student, from the Henly Road area of the town.

“I had heard about the position through Facebook; as well as an interview, I had to submit two essays about what I would bring to Danville and the aspect of culture I’d like to talk to them about while I was there,” David said.

“I studied history at the University of Ulster, Coleraine and have a Masters in Irish history from Queen’s. During that time I had written two dissertations.

“In my application, I mentioned that one of the things I planned to talk about was the migration of Scots-Irish to the United States in the 17th Century - people like Andrew Jackson who formed the backbone of American society.”

With the cultural exchange originally due to take place before the end of September, David made a request to time his visit to coincide with an annual historical celebration in Danville.

“Around the first week in October they hold Civil War re-enactments so I put in a special request to go over then,” he added.

“I’d like to relate what they do in Danville to the pageantry we have in Carrickfergus. Re-enactments are a big part of what we do in the Henry Inglesby’s Fife and Drum Corps and I’ve travelled with them before to the likes of Spain and the Republic of Ireland.”

“I’ll be heading out to Danville in October for somewhere between a week and ten days.

“I’m really looking forward to it and I’ll utilise the time as best I can.”

In 2012, the Danville Sister Cities committee sent Kentucky playwright Liz Orndorff to Carrickfergus to explore Northern Ireland’s arts, community and culture.

In exchange, Whitehead artist Janet Crymble spent six weeks in Danville.

During her visit, Janet made presentations to arts enthusiasts and the Rotary Club, directed art activities in several local schools, attended receptions in her honour, and met with local residents and dignitaries.

Meanwhile, Carrickfergus performing arts group Uplift are also due to travel to Danville next month.

The group will run a two-week drama workshop for local children.