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Armagh Ambassador programme designed to develop pride in city

An exciting new drive has been launched in Armagh to make the iconic city an even more attractive must-see destination for tourists.

The city’s historic past met the future recently as details were revealed about the first-ever Armagh Ambassador programme which is designed to develop pride in what the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland has to offer.

The ground-breaking initiative is being pioneered by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to showcase the wide range of arts, culture, heritage and visitor attractions which are available at the very heart of Armagh.

25 people will be trained up in February and March 2016 to become ‘Armagh Ambassadors’ to promote the city which has a history extending to 6500BC, making it an already established  draw for visitors. 

Out of this world. l to r...Martina Glass, (Armagh Planetarium) Cllr Sharon Haughey-Grimley (Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon council) Ivan Little, Siofra O’Reilly (Armagh Ambassador programme organiser) and Lynda Willis (Armagh Ambassador programme organiser)

Out of this world. l to r…Martina Glass, (Armagh Planetarium) Cllr Sharon Haughey-Grimley (Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon council) Ivan Little, Siofra O’Reilly (Armagh Ambassador programme organiser) and Lynda Willis (Armagh Ambassador programme organiser)

Councillor Sharon Haughey Grimley, Chair of Economic Development and Regeneration Committee has welcomed the inception of the programme which she stated will open more people’s eyes to the city’s wealth of cultural and arts assets.

She said, “There are over 15 different visitor attractions and venues covering the past and the future within a three mile radius of Armagh city centre. For instance you can see how our ancestors lived in the past at the Navan Centre & Fort with it’s vibrant living history interpreters and you can also check out our three excellent museums and our wonderful libraries, one of which is the oldest in Northern Ireland”

She added “Armagh is of course the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland with two magnificent Cathedrals with a fascinating heritage but you can also take one small step into the future by going to the Armagh Planetarium and Observatory to explore outer space.”

The 25 new Armagh Ambassadors will spend six mornings exploring all of the city’s top attractions to gain even more insights into what visitors can expect to find there. And the Ambassadors will also be shown how to polish up their social media skills so that they can spread the word about Armagh to a worldwide audience via Facebook and Twitter.

Lurgan-based business Customer Sense Training and Consultancy (CSTAC) are managing the programme on behalf of the Council. At a photocall in Armagh, writer, broadcaster and actor Ivan Little joined officials in dressing up in Georgian costume for the launch.

He said: “I may be a Belfast man but I know Armagh well. I was a frequent visitor in my youth when I started my journalistic career in nearby Portadown and I’ve also spent many hours treading the boards at the marvellous Market Place Theatre.

Cllr Sharon Haughey-Grimley (Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon council) Ivan Little, Siofra O’Reilly (Armagh Ambassador programme organiser) and Lynda Willis (Armagh Ambassador programme organiser)

Cllr Sharon Haughey-Grimley (Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon council) Ivan Little, Siofra O’Reilly (Armagh Ambassador programme organiser) and Lynda Willis (Armagh Ambassador programme organiser)

“Sometimes I think people in Northern Ireland don’t stop to appreciate what we have on our own doorsteps.

“I have always found Armagh to be a fascinating city, a diverse mix of culture, art and history as I discovered only a short time ago during the wonderful Georgian Day. But I would love to learn even more about Armagh’s fascinating past.

“I think it will be fantastic for the 25 Armagh Ambassadors to look at the city through the eyes of a tourist and to appreciate the unique visitor experience all around this beautiful place.”

One of the organisers, Lynda Willis said “If anyone has an interest in history, arts and culture and lives or works in Armagh City, I have no doubt the Armagh Ambassador programme will be ideal for them.”

Anyone who would like further information on the programme or an application form, should contact Lynda on 07773 423675 or email Lynda@customersensetraining.co.uk.

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