NI 100

Ards and North Down set to celebrate Northern Ireland Centenary

Mayor holds blue board with NI 100 text

Ards and North Down Borough Council is planning to deliver a programme of activities during Northern Ireland’s centenary year including celebrating the Borough’s centenarians and centenary babies, organising community engagement activities, delivering educational activities for our younger residents and a programme of lectures and exhibitions.

Mayor Trevor Cummings has welcomed the announcement, saying:

“Many in Ards and North Down are looking forward to celebrating this centenary and it is important to me that our celebrations are as inclusive as possible so everyone in our borough can be involved. The centenary celebrations will give us the opportunity to look back on what we have achieved over the past 100 years, telling local stories from a local perspective and we hope that our reflections will be an opportunity for us all to look forward to the future together.”

We recognise that the Covid-19 pandemic is still with us and have been mindful of potential restrictions during our planning so that while some activities are subject to restrictions many can be adapted for delivery online. 

See more details of the various celebration activities below.  

Centenary Babies

Recognising that children are the future of our place, we are celebrating the birth of our new residents who will go on the shape the future of our Borough. 

All babies born May – Dec 2021 will have the opportunity to receive a special commemorative birth certificate along with their original certificate to mark their birth in this centenary year. 

*Commemorative certificates will be offered at time of Registration with our Registration office.

Calling all Centenarians!

If you, a relative or a friend in the Borough will celebrate their 100th birthday in 2021, we would love to hear from you. We want to recognise anyone born in 1921 in this centenary year. To get involved email with the following information:

Name of recipient
Date of birth
Applicants contact details (email address and phone number)

NI 100 Grant Programme

Ards and North Down Borough Council has opened a funding scheme for local constituted community and/or resident’s groups who wish to apply for funding towards the costs involved in organising local neighbourhood events, within Ards and North Down in celebration or commemoration of the setting up of the State of Northern Ireland. 

A maximum grant of £500 is available.

Application forms, guidance notes and criteria are available at:

Creation of a Centenary Park

Council is progressing plans to plant 100 trees at a site beside the Somme Museum, Bangor Road, Newtownards.  It is anticipated that planting will take place in November 2021.  

Polish Wing Event - 22 August 2021 (Rescheduled to September)

From 20-22 August the Supermarine Spitfire Vb and Hawker Hurricane of the Polish Heritage Flight based at Duxford will be visiting Northern Ireland to fly over various sites related to the the Polish Air Force Squadrons, 303 and 315, that were based in Northern Ireland during WW2.

You can view the aircraft at Newtownards Airfield as part of their Open Day on Sunday 22nd August 2021.

Find out more at  Airfield Open Day.

Note: due to poor weather conditions, the aircraft were not able to attend on the original weekend planned . The visit was rescheduled for September 2021.

Veteran's Parade - 24 September 2021

The Band of the Royal Irish Regiment, supported by Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the Second Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, will lead the parade around the town and into Conway Square.

Spectators will enjoy military music, tradition and precision drill, with Royal British Legion veterans parading alongside members of the many regimental associations from the Borough and beyond. The event will acknowledge the invaluable contribution of men and women from across the Borough who served their country, both at home and abroad.


NI Centenary: Local Leadership, National Impact

North Down Museum’s NI Centenary: Local Leadership, National Impact exhibition explores the history of how Northern Ireland was established and puts it into the local context of the time.

Like all historical narratives, the lead up to the partition of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland is complicated.  The outcome was never straightforward, and the negotiations and political manoeuvring took many years.  While it was hard-fought on both sides; there were some who were happy with the outcome and some who were not.

The exhibition highlights many local people who were at the forefront of the unionist movement at the  time, including Comber native, John Miller Andrews, who played a pivotal role in the opposition of Home Rule, establishing Northern Ireland and sitting in its first Government 

Exhibition runs until end of July

NI100: Our Borough, Our People Exhibition

To mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Northern Ireland, North Down Museum has put together a special exhibition -' NI100: Our Borough, Our People' which explores local people who have made a national or international impact in their field over the past 100 years. 

Ards and North Down is home to a wealth of talent and this exhibition celebrates the achievements of individuals across eight different categories: - Arts, Entertainment, Leaders, Literature, Music, Science & Industry, Sports and Wartime.

North Down  Museum | Exhibition runs until end Augist 2021

Stretch out the Hand

Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Good Relations team invites you to join us for a film screening about the inauguration of the Northern Ireland parliament in 1921.  King George V was part of this momentous event in Belfast and delivered a speech with a call for reconciliation. 

Entitled ‘Stretch out the Hand’, the film features a young couple who played a role in the ceremony and depicts both their excitement and worries about the future. 

Written by author Philip Orr and performed by Christine Clark and Glenn McGivern, the film includes black and white footage from the period and is an ideal prelude to discussion. 

Showing took place in May and June 2021.  Future showing will be promoted on social media.  

Centenary Time Capsule

A time capsule featuring items selected by children from across the Borough will be placed in Ards Arts Centre/ Town Hall in Autumn 2021.

Northern Ireland Centenary Rose

The Northern Ireland Centenary Rose (Dictender) 

This beautiful rose was named by the Northern Ireland Office for the 100 years anniversary of the country. It is a blend of rose pink, ivory and pale yellow semi-double blooms, which flowers profusely all season.

Locations of roses to be confirmed, with planting anticipated in November 2021.

Town Sculptures

Five Sculptures will be placed in the borough.

Locations to be confirmed.

Youth/Schools Engagement Programme

North Down Museum will develop a schools and community groups package looking at the history of partition and giving an overview of a range local people from the last 100 years.

This project will be rolled out in Spring 2022.