The ancestral links between Carrickfergus and a Kentucky town have been revealed during a visit from a cultural ambassador.
Danville resident Ron Scott travelled to the area last week with his wife Janis as part of an ongoing exchange programme.
The two towns have held a ‘sister city’ relationship for a number of years.
The first item on the couple’s itinerary included a visit to Kilcreggan Homes and Urban Farm, where they met with manager Damien Cassidy.
The Elizabeth Avenue facility provides supported living accommodation.
“We have a state-wide school for the deaf in Danville which has about 100 students; there are some aspects of the model at Kilcreggan that we could learn from,” said Mr Scott, who is City Manager of Danville.
Despite the 3,700 mile distance between them, there are several similarities between our towns, the Kentucky native added. “Danville has a population of about 16,500, but the county, which would be equivalent to a borough, has maybe around 31,000.”
Explaining the historical links between the two areas, he added that Kentucky was originally settled by emigrants of “Scots-Irish extraction” in the 1780s.
The two towns also share close links in terms of faith. “The Protestant churches, particularly the Presbyterian church are big in Danville,” Mr Scott said.
Also on the visitors’ agenda was a trip to Parliament Buildings at Stormont, where they were greeted by East Antrim MLA and former Carrick mayor, David Hilditch.
Locally, a walking history tour and a visit to the ancestral home of seventh US president Andrew Jackson were also included.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s scenic countryside proved a winner for the Danville delegates. “I’ve travelled to England, Scotland, and Italy, but I have to say this is one of the most beautiful places in the world,” said Mr Scott.