Legacy, heart and hope at the center of Bangor’s improved status

The competition that saw Bangor gain Found City status focused on the three criteria of heritage, heart and hope – aspects that many residents of the resort town were keen to discuss on Friday.

Garlic Rider is a longtime resident of the town-turned-town of Co Down and is also an aspiring artist, specializing in acrylic landscape paintings.

She said the area has become well known for its arts and culture scene, with many muralists and others coming from across the water to paint the area’s historic walls.

“Bangor is great. And especially when the sun is shining it’s a beautiful place so it’s great to have that,” added Gail.

Bangor hosts several arts events and initiatives, with the Sidewalk Art Festival next on the schedule (July 9).

Last year, Seedhead Arts – an arts consultancy based in Belfast – invited acclaimed London street artist Irony to Northern Ireland, where during the Open House Festival he went on to paint the now famous ‘Stabby The Crabby” from Bangor on a wall near the marina.

While catering to creatives, Bangor also has a rich history. For almost 300 years, Bangor Abbey – founded by St Comgall in 558 AD – was one of the greatest monastic schools in Europe.

The place was also called the “Valley of the Angels” because, according to a popular legend, St Patrick rested there and saw the valley filled with angels.

During the Second World War, Bangor – a particularly useful suburban base for the Belfast area – was occupied by military personnel from the Allied forces, particularly in the run up to D-Day.

Two air-raid shelters stood in the center of Main Street for public use, another, located next to Ward Park, was recently given the go-ahead to be converted into a 23-seat tea room.

In May 1944, future US President Dwight D Eisenhower gave a speech to 30,000 soldiers in the then city before they left for the D-Day landings and, according to WartimeNI, US GIs would shop at Walkers Irish Linen, eager to send a piece of ‘old country’ home.

Additionally, Lightbody’s Fish & Chips was so popular that it became a military canteen.

A local boat owner, who did not want to be named, joked that due to its rich antiquity, Bangor is “the center of the world” and he joked that the only potential problem with its new status as town is the potential for it to be more easily confused with its namesake in Wales.

“What I would worry about is that Royal Mail might confuse the post between the two now,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

Although the Welsh Bangor has been a city for longer, it only has a population of around 18,000, while Bangor in Co Down has a population of around 61,000, making it the fifth largest town/city in Northern Ireland , behind Belfast, Londonderry, Lisburn and Newtownabbey. .

Neighboring Newry, Morne & Down council were quick to congratulate Bangor on its town status, with council chairman Michael Rice saying: ‘As a council, we recognize that granting town status can give a boost to local communities and help support great regeneration and investment opportunities. I wish the Town of Bangor and its plans for the future every success.

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