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Monday, May 12, 2014

Boston & Belfast, Entwined by History, Become Sister Cities


Boston and Belfast, two cities entwined historically by immigration, politics, business and culture, today become official partners in the prestigious Sister Cities program.  Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Belfast Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir signed the formal agreement at the Seaport Boston Hotel as a host of Irish-American business leaders and local officials looked on.

"Together, Boston and Belfast will strive to foster educational exchanges, promote cultural understanding, and stimulate economic development through our new Sister City relationship," said Walsh. "This formal agreement goes far beyond a declaration on ink on paper; it truly speaks to our historic connection, genuine ties, and deeply linked heritage."

Belfast and Boston share enduring links of history and heritage over many years and they will now provide the foundation for a new future-focused Sister City relationship between Boston and Belfast,” said  O Muilleoir.

According to the book, Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past (Globe Pequot Press), the Boston-Belfast connection dates back to the early 18th century, when thousands of Northern Irish Presbyterians who were seeking a new life in the New World came through Boston Harbor, starting in 1718.  They settled in the Bay State and created towns like Londonderry and Derry, New Hampshire; Belfast, Maine; and Charlemont and Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Sister City program was first instituted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, and Belfast becomes only the ninth international city that Boston has invited into the program. 

For more about Boston’s Irish community, visit IrishBoston.org.

To find out more about Boston’s illustrious Irish history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com