Carrick’s Ulster-Scots heritage was marked in style last weekend as the town hosted its first ever Bruce 700 festival.
The medieval-themed event, which attracted thousands of visitors, commemorated the 700th anniversary of the invasion of Ireland by Edward Bruce.
Funded jointly by the Ulster Scots Agency and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, the two-day programme included a range of family entertainment from jousting, street theatre, falconry and blacksmith demonstrations to archery and medieval battle workshops.
Mid and East Antrim Mayor Billy Ashe said: “There were huge crowds at the castle and Marine Gardens; I’ve been told there was somewhere in the region of 6,000 to 8,000 people who attended over the weekend.
“There was an opportunity for people to see the fighting equipment that would have been used at that time, such as swords and pikes, and we had help from the local living history group who were in costume.
“The highlight of the weekend was the unveiling of a plaque at Market Place beside St Nicholas’s Church, where Edward was crowned King of Ireland.”
The festival shows that Ulster Scots history is firmly embedded in Mid and East AntrimMayor Billy Ashe
The festival’s success has led to hopes it will make a return visit to the borough in the future. “The festival shows that Ulster Scots history is firmly embedded in Mid and East Antrim; I would certainly like to see this become an annual event,” Cllr Ashe added.
“It would be great for tourism throughout the Mid and East Antrim area too, as it will link directly into the Edward the Bruce trail.”