HERITAGE: Icelandic visitors celebrate their Mid and East Antrim Borough heritage

Gu�mundur Sigur�sson, J�n Allansson, Mid and East Antrim Borough's museums officer Shirin Murphy, �sgeir Kristinsson, J�n�na Magn�sd�ttir and Anna Leif El�d�ttir.
Gu�mundur Sigur�sson, J�n Allansson, Mid and East Antrim Borough's museums officer Shirin Murphy, �sgeir Kristinsson, J�n�na Magn�sd�ttir and Anna Leif El�d�ttir.

Mid and East Antrim Borough’s popular Carrickfergus Museum recently played host to a special party of visitors.

The group of Icelandic museum professionals were on a trip to Northern Ireland with the aim of establishing better connections with their local counterparts.

They revealed a special affinity for Ireland as their home town of Akranes – one of the oldest villages in Iceland - was settled at the end of the 9th century by an Irish monk called Jörund the Christian and two brothers from Ireland, Ketill and Þormóður.

The visitors also said that each July the people of Akranes celebrate a special weekend called ‘The Irishdays’ because of this connection. They said Carrickfergus was top of their list of places to see because of the town’s own long and distinguished history.

Carrickfergus Heritage & Tourism staff therefore arranged an itinerary for them which began with a visit to the Carrickfergus Museum itself including a meeting with Mid and East Antrim Borough’s museums officer Shirin Murphy. They discussed the work of the local museum service and the importance of the museums sector in Northern Ireland.

The party also visited the Andrew Jackson Cottage and the US Rangers Centre, Carrickfergus Castle, St Nicholas’s church, and were taken on a walking tour.

They later exchanged gifts including a photographic book of Akranes and a piece of volcanic rock. In return the visitors took home a copy of Ruairí Ó Baoill’s Carrickfergus – The Story of the Castle and Walled Town.