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Local Projects

We have undertaken to initiate, fund and supervise to completion three exemplary projects. This work is designed to complement and inform the heritage interviews. We want in these projects to prioritise those who pursued ‘ordinary’ lives (for example, housewives, farmers, factory workers, teachers, carers).
The following three projects were selected:

v  Intergenerational Study of Mixed Marriages

Marie Hamilton led an intergenerational study of the impact that mixed marriages have had on both individual and family life since the 1970s. The project publication, ‘Love & Marriage in a Divided Society: A Case Study,’ was launched at Linenhall Library on Wednesday 25th September 2013.

Marie wanted to capture changes in attitudes and experiences across at least two generations. Those interviewed ranged in age from early twenties to late fifties. Eight of the ten people interviewed are currently part of a mixed marriage. Three of these were also children of mixed marriages. Due to the continuing sensitivity of the issues discussed all contributions were anonymised.

Participants talked about the reaction of their families and friends to their marriages, the vexed issue of deciding which faith to bring children up in, of family rifts (some of which persisted for decades) and of reconciliations. There are also interviews with the children of mixed marriages, most of whom felt that they had benefitted from this experience. Members of the clergy also outlined some of the key shifts in attitudes and church policies over the course of the last century.

Marie said: “I found this entire oral history project to be very therapeutic and I was reassured to know that time has been a great healer for most families. For some, divisions clearly remain but most of the younger interviewees were of the opinion that as their own family bonds have developed the impact of old sores and divisions have lessened.”

Marie’s recordings will be archived as an invaluable oral history resource. 

v  Interview-based Exploration of Youth Identity

We would like to thank Dara Larkin for all her hard work in co-ordinating a cross border and cross community project with youth groups from Ballynafiegh Community Development Association, Belfast and Craobh Rua House youth project in Muirhevnamor, Dundalk. The aim of the project was to use oral history interviews to explore themes relevant to young people today such as identity and diversity in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

This project has provided an opportunity for young people from a range of different backgrounds to meet, socialise and discuss shared issues. Youth Workers facilitated workshops with the two groups ultimately came together to create a poster representation of their time together.

v  Cross-border / Cross-Community Study of the Balmoral Show

Olive Mercer led a fascinating study of cross-border and cross-community co-operation in farming. This gave rise to a short publication entitled ‘Capturing Memories’. Drawing on a series of interviews Olive provides an overview of the various shows and exhibitions associated by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS). Picking up themes of cross-community and cross-border co-operation in farming, her booklet paints a striking picture of camaraderie and inter-dependency.

On the occasion of a historic relocation to Balmoral Park, RUAS officials, judges and exhibitors from North and South also shared their thoughts and feelings about current and future developments.

Olive’s innovative study has created an important archive on the history of the Balmoral Show, Winter Fair and Kings Hall and will be of great interest to the agricultural community, those who have faithfully attended the Balmoral Show, and all those interested in community heritage.

 

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