Families welcome Irish teens

Published 11:41 pm Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nine Northern Ireland teenagers recently paid a visit to Washington.
The teenagers were participants in the Greenville Ulster Project, a peace project with a mission to promote reconciliation between Northern Irish Catholics and Protestants and “foster tolerance, understanding and friendship among teenage future leaders,” said Victoria Brown, who sits on the board of directors of the Greenville Ulster Project.
Brown, a manager at Carmike Cinema Seven, was responsible for bringing the group to Washington.
“We’ve got a wonderful town. It’s just a way to show it off,” Brown said.
The tour included a visit to the N.C. Estuarium and Havens Garden Park. The group had a meal at The Plantation House and was treated to a movie at Carmike Cinema Seven.
“What’s great is several Hollywood studios provided memorabilia from recent movies like T-shirts, hats and CDs,” Brown said.
After the movie, the group toured the theater’s projection-booths area.
Brown said she has participated in the annual Ulster visit for years. Her family hosted some of the teenagers, too.
A local family with a teenager about the same age hosts a Northern Ireland teenager for the month-long visit. The Irish visitors range in age from 14 to 16 years old and are accompanied by two counselors.
“We try to get the youth while they are not set in their ways so that we can plant seeds of peace,” Brown said.
While in the states, the teenagers visited Catholic and protestant churches, took a trip to Washington, D.C., and did community service.
They bonded with teenagers, giving them slices of cultures in which people of different faiths worked together.
For more information about the Ulster project, go to www.ulsterproject.org.