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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Northern Ireland, Virginia and the Mekong Delta

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is one of the world’s great cultural showcases. Having begun in 1967, it is described as "an international exposition of living cultural heritage" and takes place on the National Mall in Washington DC for two weeks in June and July, overlapping with the 4th July celebrations.

In April 2005, it was confirmed that Northern Ireland had been invited to take part in the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, alongside two other regions – the state of Virginia and the Mekong Delta.

In September 2006, the Ulster-Scots Agency was asked by the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) to commission an independent report which would propose up to 40 individuals or groups from the Ulster-Scots community who would have the necessary skills to take part in the Festival. This was submitted to DCAL in October 2006 and a final selection was announced in February 2007.

The individuals chosen from the Agency-commissioned report are:

Dr George Holmes MBE
Robert Watt
Emma Culbert
Rev Jim Mattison
Lucy Mulholland
Lyn Rankin

Many others from the Ulster-Scots community are also taking part. We hope that all those chosen to represent Northern Ireland will enjoy the occasion, and that the Ulster-Scots message will be clearly communicated as part of the overall "RediscoverNI" programme in the USA.

For further information, visit:
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
The Rediscover Northern Ireland programme
Smithsonian Institution