Please consider attending the Belfast Homecoming
to be held
October 7-10, 2015
Máirtín Ó Muilleoir made a presentation to members of the Irish-American community in DC hosted by local AOH divisions, and a personal invitation to join leaders of the Irish diaspora in this year’s Belfast Homecoming.
A place to meet together
Belfast Homecoming 2014 saw 50 influential members of the Diaspora join with local civic leaders in Belfast. These included politicians; business leaders, community leaders, social entrepreneurs and artists.
All these themes are relevant to building a prosperous and peaceful future for Belfast. Critically, the discussion also asked questions of what Belfast can give back to those cities and regions in which the diaspora now live and work in.
Deepening the relationship
Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh was a delegate at Homecoming 2014. The Mayor has valued developing a relationship with Belfast.
“In May of this year, we (Boston and Belfast) signed a Sister Cities agreement, Boston’s first in many years. This partnership will support cultural exchange, promote tourism, and do more. We will forge a strategic alliance in the global economy, to advance our mutual goal of widely shared prosperity.”
Appreciating the relationship
“What perhaps is new about our relationship with the diaspora is that in recent years we have come to appreciate them more. We want them to know that they are not forgotten; that they are valued; and that we wish them to remain connected.”
Jimmy Deenihan, TD, and the Irish Government’s Minister for the Diaspora
Enjoying the relationship
“Since I stepped off the plane, those 100,000 welcomes have probably been 2 or 3 or 400,000 welcomes. I have found Belfast to be an incredibly warm city, a vibrant city, things are happening here, culture, arts, redevelopment, continued movement towards peace and reconciliation. There are also business opportunities for both sides of the ocean.”
Steve Lennox, President of the Irish Network, USA.
A place of creativity with an ambition for more
In terms of investment in innovative businesses “Ireland, north and south, is definitely worth looking at. In Northern Ireland I sense a greater hunger and willingness to work with even earlier stage ventures. There is a willingness to help cut through the red tape. In addition there is high quality talent at a price about half of what I would pay in San Francisco.”
Séamus McAteer, Founder Datasanp.ie
Our friends from the Diaspora • attending Homecoming 2014 encountered Belfast and a region which is rich with musicians, writers, craftspeople, actors, designers and • programmers that can create and support creative enterprise.
This creativity is blossoming and becoming a key economic driver:
- Northern Ireland universities produce just under 1000 graduates a year from Creative Arts & Design • and Mass Communication & Documentation;
- Queens University, University of Ulster and the Northern Ireland Science Park are consistently producing leading edge research and technologies;
- Northern Ireland has some 250 media production companies delivering on a global stage;
- There is a regional strategy to deliver a vision… “By 2020 Northern Ireland will be an internationally acclaimed hub of technological and creative excellence in digital media – developing and distributing innovative digital media and technologies to global markets.”
- Invest NI’s growth strategy for the Digital Media Sector for 2013-2015 called ‘Taking Digital Further’ articulates targets to help deliver the ambitious growth.
Van Morrison found his muse in Belfast. Today you can walk the Van Morrison trail along the streets of East Belfast which inspired his classic hits. Michael Longley and Sinéad Morrissey are the city’s poet laureates, Stephen Rea and Geraldine Hughes its leading lights of stage and screen, while the burgeoning film industry is attracting international stars like Bill Murray and Tom Hanks.
The Lyric Theatre, An Chultúrlann, the Grand Opera House and The Mac have all enjoyed multimillion pound investments in recent years as jewels in the city’s artistic crown.
When visiting Belfast there are always other things to sample and enjoy.
At Belfast Homecoming 2015, we plan to set aside Saturday 26 September to allow our delegates to enjoy the city and its hinterland. Delegates can chose from A Game of Thrones odyssey, the famous Belfast Bred culinary tour, a day on the links, or day to explore the evolution of the peace in our neighbourhoods.
The sporting life
There are opportunities to experience the sporting life of the city and the region. The city home to three major stadia for Gaelic games, rugby and football. Recently Belfast’s Titanic Quarter hosted the Giro Big Start while other international sporting events are scheduled for coming years. Belfast also boasts the fabulous Belfast Giants ice-hockey team.
Delegates can also avail of the opportunity to test some of the world’s finest golfing challenges, testing their skills on the very courses that local major champions Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke, developed their games. Close to Belfast are Royal Portush and Royal County Down golf courses, both regularly cited near the top of the world’s top golf courses. Royal Portrush is due to host The Open Golf Championship in 2019.
Home from Home
On the final night of the Belfast Homecoming, your hosts invite you to join them in their homes to meet their families, enjoy a heart meal and continue the conversation about building golden bridges between the city and our global family.
7-10 October 2015