A GROUP of 30 residents from Magherafelt, together with the Council’s Good Relations Officer and PEACE III staff, spent three days in Dublin and Drogheda recently to learn of Unionist and Nationalist shared history.
The group had representatives from the following organisations: Orange Order, GAA, AOH, Apprentice Boys, Royal Black Perceptory, British Legion, Dunamoney Flute Band, Masons and Maghera Sons of William.
This visit was funded by the office of the First and Deputy Ministers, and Magherafelt District Council.
The first two days were spent in Dublin, where the tour facilitator, Sean Collins had organised a visit to the DAIL in Leinster House, followed by a tour of the house.
Participants then visited the memorial gardens, Kilmainham Gaol and Collins Barracks Museum.
A three-hour guided tour of the GAA Museum proved very interesting, which was followed by a visit to St. Patricks Cathedral.
On the final day the group travelled to Drogheda, where they were hosted by the Mayor of Drogheda, Councillor Kevin Callan.
The highlight of the Drogheda visit was a tour of the Boyne Visitors Centre followed by a very intensive talk by Sean Collins on the Battle of the Boyne.
Other sites visited were the Netterville Institute, Newgrange, Hill of Slane and Ledwidge Cottage Museum.
Following the visit, Sean Henry, Good Relations Officer for Magherafelt District Council explained that the tour had been a great method of dispelling myths on both sides. He emphasised that acknowledging shared history is a great place to start to progress reconciliation and trust.