UUP MLA Mr Robin Swann has revealed his “absolute delight” that a range of activities will take place to mark the 700th anniversary of the historic 1315 Battle of Connor in Co Antrim.
Assemblyman Swann, the UUP Chief Whip, added: “I am absolutely delighted by this tremendous news and I warmly welcome the confirmation from the Minister of Culture that the Ministerial Advisor Group - Ulster Scots Academy has recommended that a range of events will take place to mark the 700th Anniversary of the Battle of Connor.
“Following representations made by the Kells and Connor Community Association and myself, I am really pleased that Kells and Connor will be part of this exciting project.”
Putting the event in context, Mr Swann – the North Antrim UUP Chairman - explained that “in 1315, Edward the Bruce, brother of the famous Robert the Bruce, invaded Ulster.
“It was Edward’s intention to expand the Bruce kingdom by driving the Anglo-Normans out of Ireland.
“His forces landed at East Antrim in Larne in May, went on to lay siege to Carrick Castle, where in June he was crowned ‘Master of Ulster’, and that after travelling as far south as Drogheda.
“The final battle of the expedition happened just outside Kells where the Scots and Anglo-Normans clashed, with the Scots being victorious and going on to sack and raise to the ground the ‘Town’ of Connor,” said Mr Swann.
Meanwhile, Mr Keith Turner, Chairman of the Kells and Connor Community Association, added: “On behalf of the residents of Kells and Connor, I can express our excitement at the potential to put the villages firmly on the tourist trail.
“It is our hope that we can play an active part in the commemoration of a major historical event that occurred 700 years ago and helped to shape the destiny of Ulster.
“I am confident that all organisations throughout the villages will want to fully engage with this venture and we look forward to showing ourselves at our best,” said Mr Turner.
The Culture Minister has also paid tribute to the role of Assemblyman Swann in his campaign for the commemoration, when she said she was fully aware of Mr Swann’s “keen interest in this important anniversary, and the Battle of Connor in particular and that the Partnership Group would consult him on plans as they developed”.