Exploring diversity through new series of Good Relations visits

Exploring diversity through new series of Good Relations visits

Thu, October 03, 2019

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Good Relations Team is rolling out a new series of free excursions which aim to encourage greater understanding of diversity.

The ‘Through the Looking Glass’ programme, which was first introduced last year, will provide opportunities to explore a variety of traditions and faiths at historical and cultural locations within the Borough and beyond.

A trip to Duncairn Arts Centre in Belfast will take place on October 16th followed by a tour of Drumalis House in Larne on November 6th.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor Sean Bateson said: “We were delighted that the Through the Looking Glass programme was so well recieved last year.  It contributes to greater understanding of our perspectives of the past, challenging perceptions and also enhances  our understanding of each other.  Programmes such as this are vital to creating a  more peaceful society and strengthening local community relations.    We live in a diverse community and our desire is that it would be a peaceful one, where we can live respectfully alongside one another.  I look forward to seeing the variety of visits which will take place throughout the rest of this year.”

Duncairn Arts Centre is located in a former Presbyterian church at an interface area on Belfast’s Antrim Road. Participants can look forward to a talk led by Rev Bill Shaw OBE, director of the 174 Trust which has been actively involved in peace and reconciliation for decades. There’ll be an opportunity to sample a traditional vegetarian Indian lunch and hear about the history, culture and diversity of the Indian Community and view the Hindu temple. 

Drumalis House is owned and managed by the Sisters of the Cross and Passion whose ministry is one of reconciliation and nurturing.  Its grounds were used for the famous Larne gun running in 1912, providing a direct route from the harbour to the towns and villages in County Antrim.  The trip also includes a walking tour of Ballycarry, home to Ballycarry Presbyterian Church. Founded in 1613, it is the oldest congregation in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. The present church building dates from 1830. The Old Presbyterian (Non-Subscribing) Congregation also traces its roots back to 1613. Learn about James Orr (1770-1816) a most outstanding Weaver Poet and his life which encapsulates the most radical period of Ulster Scots history when the east Ulster Presbyterians took part in the United Irish Rebellion of 1798.

Good Relations Officer Bebhinn McKinley added: “This year’s ‘Through the Looking Glass Programme’ has a fantastic array of themes and topics, including shared space, culture and identity, plus examining the history and heritage across our society.   I would encourage participants to sign up to as many of the sessions as possible as it will be an opportunity not only meet others from across the Borough, but will also provide an opportunity for a journey of exploration, learning and discovery.”

Both events are free of charge, but places are limited, so if you would like to register, or be notified of future events, please contact or ring 028 7776 0312. 

Collection points for both sessions will be the Marina carpark in Coleraine (beside Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council offices) at 9.30am and the Park and Ride at Drumadoon, (Cloughmills) at 10am approximately.  The bus should return back to the Marina car park in Coleraine by 4.30pm for each session. For anyone who cannot get transport to these collection points, the Good Relations team will make every effort to ensure that you can participate.

Two additional visits will take place between January-March 2020 and further details will be available in due course.