Our first Sister City
…is on the lovely island of Ireland. On November 17, 1998 Newtownabbey and Gilbert officially became sister cities. On November 17, 2016 a new partnership agreement was signed by Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels, Antrim-Newtownabbey Mayor John Scott and Gilbert Sister Cities President Greg Tilque recognizing the newly created Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough. A delegation of 12 Antrim-Newtownabbey council and staff members joined in on the special occasion.
The Borough of Antrim-Newtownabbey is situated immediately north of Belfast in County Antrim and covers an area of 274 square miles. Newtownabbey was a new town formed in 1958 by an Act of Parliament and had grown to a population of about 85,000. It was formed by the amalgamation of historic villages of Carnmoney, Glengormley, Jordanstown, Monkstown, Whiteabbey, Whitehouse and Whitewell.
On April 1, 2015 the boroughs of Antrim and Newtownabbey were consolidated into one and are now called the Borough of Antrim and Newtownabbey. They now have a combined population of 138,567. Northern Ireland is a lovely country full of warm people and beautiful scenery.
We have selected some images from Antrim-Newtownabbey and posted them here. There are only a few here but we will be adding more as time goes on. Be sure to check our pictures from delegation visits, both Gilbert’s visits to Antrim-Newtownabbey and their visits to Gilbert.
A History of Antrim-Newtownabbey
(The following is from a 40th Anniversary text published by the Newtownabbey Borough Council in 1998)
Way back in 1953 Newtownabbey was just a dream, a concept created by the progressive members of Belfast Rural District Council. It took five more committed years for those councillors to turn that dream into reality. On lst April 1958 Newtownabbey became the first town in Ireland’s history to be formed by an Act of Parliament.
Interestingly the name Newtownabbey – meaning the new town of the abbey (referring to ancient Whiteabbey) – was not the first choice. About 200 names were considered ranging from Parkerstown, Fort Lilibet, Belnigh and even some unlikely suggestions like Rurabities and Dee-a-ling!
Newtownabbey Urban District Council comprising 21 members set up offices in Hazelbank and met for the first time on 29th May 1958. Its first chairman was Mr H Robinson and one of his first tasks was to apply for an official Coat of Arms. The motto inscribed ” Septem in Uno Surgent ” – Seven Shall Arise as One – reflected the coming together of the seven ancient villages of Whitehouse, Whiteabbey, Jordanstown, Glengormley, Whitewell, Monkstown and Carnmoney. These villages with an additional 20 townlands made Newtownabbey the third largest town in Northern Ireland (after Belfast and Londonderry).
Much was achieved by the Council as it moved to establish the area as a significant industrial and residential location. Modem housing estates, schools, health centres, transport facilities, play areas, cemeteries, libraries and shopping precincts were soon available to new residents.
Fifteen years later Newtownabbey experienced further change. The re-organisation of local government saw Newtownabbey Urban District Council become Newtownabbey District Council. Boundaries were enlarged to incorporate a large rural hinterland including Ballyclare, Ballynure, Doagh and Straid.
Despite civil unrest development continued unabated. Community centres, schools, factories, warehouses, roads, shopping facilities, training centres and new housing were established or built. The Valley Leisure Centre was opened in 1977 and continues to be a major sporting and leisure facility.
In the same year the status of Borough was bestowed on Newtownabbey by the wife of the then Secretary of State for NI, the Rt Hon Roy Mason MP. Amongst the splendid pomp and splendour evoked by the colourful robes and sense of occasion, Alderman S R Cameron was installed as the first Mayor of Newtownabbey.
The Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has indeed much of which to be proud in its 57 year history. Beautiful countryside and parks complemented by attractive towns and villages, equipped with state of the art leisure facilities, excellent shopping facilities and the largest University in Ireland all combine to make Newtownabbey a thriving urban centre well positioned to serve its growing population into the next millennium.
Multi in Uno Resurgent – Many Shall Re-Arise as One .
Antrim and Newtownabbey Official Website!