By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — The ties between the local area and Derry, Northern Ireland, are strong and those across the pond are getting a special local visitor this month.
Town historian Richard Holmes is heading to Ireland to share his love of history and to honor the strong connections between that country and New England, notably Derry and Londonderry.
Holmes was scheduled to leave earlier this week. He will be taking along some local mementos to give to his Irish counterparts.
Residents in Derry’s namesake town in Ireland are celebrating all this year as the first United Kingdom City of Culture and also its 400th birthday.
Irish residents want local Derry and Londonderry residents to be part of the party.
“I am especially keen to have people whose ancestors originated from this part of Ireland come as tourists during 2013, to enjoy the many events that we will be promoting and also to search for their ancestors whilst here,” said William Houston, a member of the UK City of Culture 2013 committee in an email.
Derry/Londonderry was named the UK’s inaugural City of Culture. Preparations are now underway for the big celebration.
According to Holmes’ book “A Second Glimpse of Derry,” people migrated from Scotland to Northern Ireland in the early 1600s to escape religious prosecution. Those people settled in an area called Derry, later to be named Londonderry.
Holmes was scheduled to take some commemorative coins honoring Derry, N.H., to give to residents of Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland.