A new Ulster-Scots Hub and visitor centre has been officially opened in Belfast.
The Corn Exchange building, in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, is now home to the key Ulster-Scots organisations.
The Discover Ulster-Scots Centre houses a newly designed exhibition of the link between Scotland and Ulster, particularly in recent centuries.
Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “The Discover Ulster-Scots Centre provides an imaginative and informative presentation of the historic link between Scotland and Ulster. It is a ‘one-stop’ shop for all those interested in these important connections at home and abroad, be it culture, heritage, tourism, language or genealogy.
“This exhibition also highlights the many ways in which Ulster-Scots culture, history, heritage and language has shaped Ireland and the province of Ulster in particular. Ulster is a multicultural province where Irish, English and Scottish strands have been intertwined throughout history.”
The Minister went on to comment on the Hub: “This building now provides office accommodation for the main Ulster-Scots organisations: the Ulster-Scots Agency; the Ulster-Scots Academy Ministerial Advisory Group; the Ulster-Scots Community Network and the Ulster-Scots Library and Archive.
“One of the main aims of the development of the Ulster-Scots Hub is to promote collaboration within the Ulster-Scots sector. Cohesion has been steadily improving over the past few years, with the Agency, Academy and Network working more closely together to deliver increased benefits. Now we have brought the sector together physically in the one building.
“The history, the culture and the traditions celebrated within this building are something of which we can all be proud. This is not a reflection of one community, it is part of our shared heritage and belongs to us all. I hope it will open up Ulster-Scots to everyone – people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, here and beyond these shores.”
DCAL contributed £340k to the project, which includes the Discover Ulster-Scots Centre exhibition. It aims to provide a resource for the community as well as bringing the Ulster-Scots story to a wider audience, including locals and visitors to Belfast.
The Minister concluded: “I wish all the partners in the new Hub and Discover Ulster-Scots Centre well and look forward to increasing collaboration and delivery of initiatives for the benefit of all in the community. I hope what happens in this building will enhance and develop Ulster-Scots history, heritage culture and language.”