Ulster Scots Heritage on Tourist Trail
EB Lapointe

Donegal, Ireland's part in the birth of Presbyterianism across North America is to be celebrated in a heritage tourism initiative linking the University of Ulster's Institute of Ulster Scots Studies and the International Fund for Ireland.

The interpretative centre is to be built in the Laggan district, in the northeastern part of the county. The manse at Monreagh, near St. Johnston, is just five miles from the Donegal-Derry border, and will be converted to contain 17th and 18th century artifacts and displays that tell the story of how Presbyterian communities fled Ulster, seeking freedom of religion and a new life in the New World.

"This centre will not be a staid mausoleum. It will be a living attraction which will celebrate an Ulster Scots heritage that will attract tourists and generate income in the north-west," said Professor John Wilson, Director of the Institute of Ulster Scots Studies.

William Gregg—the other figure of interest in the growth of the Presbyterian Church in North America besides Francis Makemie—was born at Killycreen near Ramelton in 1817. After studying theology in Edinburgh, he was licensed by the Free Church Presbytery in 1846 and was immediately sent to Canada on missionary work. Ordained there in 1847, he was Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Canada—usually called the Free Church—in 1861 when the union took place between it and the United Presbyterian Church of Canada.

The Laggan district lies between Loughs Swilly and Lough Foyle, and is centered on the towns of Lifford, Raphoe, Carrigans, St. Johnston, Stranorlar, and Newtowncunningham.

29 November, 2005

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