by JULIE ANN SPENCE
THE Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Nelson McCausland has visited the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum to view the Museum's current exhibitions, including '17th Century Lisburn', which was created to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the town in 1609.
The Minister was welcomed to the Museum by the Mayor, Councillor Allan Ewart and Chairman of Leisure Services Committee, Councillor David Archer, before receiving the tour from Museum Curator, Mr Brian Mackey.
Speaking afterwards Mr McCausland said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit and have gained a fascinating insight into the heritage of Lisburn and learnt many new interesting facts about the development of the City. Such an exhibition is timely given the current interest throughout Northern Ireland in the 400th anniversary of the Ulster Plantation.
"I would encourage everyone to come along and visit this very special exhibition.'
Discussing the historical journey of Lisburn and the content of the exhibition with the Minister, Brian Mackey explained: "In the early years of Lisburn's foundation, the town had attracted new settlers from England, Wales and Scotland and later a settlement of French Huguenot refugees from Europe.
"In the 17th Century Lisburn developed connections in trade with other parts of the British Isles and with continental Europe and this led to the development of the world famous linen industry. The history of Lisburn is inextricably linked with linen."
The Mayor, Mr Ewart, added: "Last year the Council hosted a variety of events as Lisburn celebrated 400 years and this exhibition is a must-see for anyone interested in the City's history and heritage.
"It has attracted visitors from near and far and I am pleased that the exhibition has been extended until June."
Mr Archer said he was delighted the Minister had accepted the Council's invitation to visit the Centre.
"We are extremely proud of our heritage here in Lisburn and the exhibition featuring displays of paintings, silver and other fine objects, maps and documents beautifully tells the story of Lisburn's journey" he said.
Due to popular interest the 17th Century Exhibition will remain open at the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum until June 5.
For further information Tel: 02892663377 or visit: www.lisburncity.gov.uk