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NI Centenary exhibition at Carrickfergus Museum sharing untold stories of Mid and East Antrim


Deputy Mayor, Cllr Matthew Armstrong, Northern Ireland 100 Working Group member, and Group Chair, Cllr Cheryl Brownlee

A free exhibition exploring life across the decades is on tour in Mid and East Antrim.

Visitors to the display at Carrickfergus Museum will find both familiar and unusual objects, which take a reflective look over what people in Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne and their hinterlands have experienced since the creation of Northern Ireland in 1921.

Looking Back to Look Forward: Mid and East Antrim 1921-2021 is a Northern Ireland Centenary project, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Shared History Fund on behalf the Northern Ireland Office.


Cllr Cheryl Brownlee, Chair of the Northern Ireland 100 Working Group, with Deputy Mayor and fellow group member, Cllr Matthew Armstrong



Beginning as a small capsule exhibition at Larne Museum and Arts Centre in June, the project has expanded to include a wide range of objects from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s museum collections.

It has been greatly enhanced through a community research programme which saw volunteers develop their research skills and focus on stories which are important to them.

With the support of volunteers from communities across the Borough, the project highlights the untold experiences in Mid and East Antrim from 1921 to the present day as we mark the Centenary of Northern Ireland.

These community contributions have been recorded in a film featuring project volunteers sharing the stories they have uncovered through their research.


Cllr Cheryl Brownlee, Chair of the Northern Ireland 100 Working Group, checks out the exhibition.

Councillor Cheryl Brownlee said:

“As Chair of the Centenary Working Group I am delighted with the strong community voice that is coming through our Northern Ireland Centenary Looking Back to Look Forward project to date.

“The stories volunteers have uncovered are as wide-ranging as they are engaging. From 1920s life in the Moravian church at Gracehill to 1970s entertainment in Carrickfergus - and many stories in-between.

“These range from supporting the war effort in Carrickfergus during WWII, to school days in Cullybackey, footballing triumphs in Ballymena, and emigration to USA and immigration to Whitehead, all showcasing the rich variety of life experiences through the decades.”


Throughout 2021, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is hosting a programme of events to celebrate 100 years since the formation of Northern Ireland.

Managed by the Council’s Centenary Working Group, these events, exhibitions and community initiatives are all aimed at showcasing and championing the Borough’s culture, heritage, education, history, and future prosperity.

The exhibition at Carrickfergus Museum & Civic Centre runs until 15 October, and at Mid-Antrim Museum in Ballymena from 22 October to 29 January.