An exciting and unique new cultural and heritage tour organisation will be launched on Monday night (August 7) to put the spotlight on Portadown’s development.
The exhibition will also examine the immense part played by Orangemen and their families in the development of Portadown from a small village to one of Northern Ireland’s most important towns.
Carleton Street Orange Hall in the town is the venue for the launch of Portadown Heritage Tours which will be attended by senior members of the Orange Order and also by civic, business and community leaders.
The project is the culmination of over a year’s training by a number of local volunteers, mostly members of the Orange Order.
Mr Cardwell McClure of the Association said the project will include walking tours of Portadown’s central area where visitors will learn of its history and heritage through its buildings, memorials and statues many with an Orange connection.
He also said that there will be tours of Carleton Street Orange Hall to tell the story of the men and lodges who have made their mark on Orangeism and the town during the past two centuries. The project will be further developed to include a tour to Drumcree.
During the 18 months of research the Carleton Street Community Development Association has been active in meeting the requirements of a £48,600 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Without the support, help and advice of the Fund this unique and exciting cultural and historical project would not have been possible.
Two of the co-ordinators of the Project, Cardwell McClure and John Proctor, paid tribute to the advice and support from organisations and individuals who have addressed meetings and assisted in the training of the volunteers, in particular Mr Allan Hamilton of Brilliant Trails who arranged all of the training.
Mr Proctor said that the volunteers had been trained to World Host standard and on skills relating to research, tours, health and safety and IT.
Volunteers have also carried out research work at PRONI and Schomberg House, both in Belfast, Sloan’s House in Loughgall, Brownlow House in Lurgan, and museums in County Armagh.
The volunteers have also visited Sandy Row in Belfast and other places where tours are in place in order to gain knowledge as they prepared their own programme of tours.
The Community Association is hosting a cultural and historical exhibition in the Orange Hall and it will be open to all five days per week, Tuesday to Saturday, starting on August 8 running to September 2.
There are also plans to link up with the envisaged County Armagh Orange Heritage Trail in a bid to attract tourists to the county and Portadown in particular – this will include Dan Winter’s Cottage, Sloan’s House, both in Loughgall – Carleton Street Orange Hall and Brownlow House in Lurgan.
Both Mr Proctor and Mr McClure praised their fellow volunteers for the dedicated hard work and commitment they have given during the past year to bring about the situation whereby the project will be launched.
They mentioned in particular the contribution by young lady volunteer, Lisa Partridge, whose IT and marketing skills have been invaluable to the successful completion of the project.
For further information, please contact: Website: www.portadownheritagetours.co.uk Facebook: Portadown Heritage Tours email:firstname.lastname@example.org
or telephone: 07928 962 608