The county is dripping with history and heritage too, with picturesque towns and villages that will surprise you with their stories and delight you with their charms.
|Statistics for the Ards and North Down Borough, Northern Ireland, UK|
Area (Square Miles):
Seaport, Resort, Yachting Center
Industry, Public Sector
In 1995 a delegation from Ards and North Down Borough, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, attended their first Sister Cities International Conference. Returning in 1996, to promote a Sister City relationship with Ards and North Down Borough, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom they explored Virginia Beach because of the similar port area, military affiliation, and oceanfront tourist attraction. In 1997, they met with Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf and became more interested in twinning with Virginia Beach.
In 1990, Mayor Oberndorf was invited to speak at the House of Commons, in London, England. After that event, she and her husband visited North Down Bangor again to renew their friendship and to be sure they understood the intent of the North Down Bangor officials’ desire for a Sister City relationship. The Ards and North Down Borough, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom Council faithfully sent representatives to the annual conference of the Sister Cities International to meet with Virginia Beach officials and to foster the relationship.
At the 1999 SCI Conference, Mayor Oberndorf and Mayor Smith signed a “Friendship” document. Following that conference, the Ards and North Down Borough, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom Chief Executive, and Town Clerk came to Virginia Beach with one of their Councilors and were very excited to go back to North Down Bangor and formulate the relationship.
The Virginia Beach City Clerk was asked to go to Ards and North Down Borough, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, to explain to their representatives that Virginia Beach Mayor’s Sister City Commission had adopted certain criteria that must be met to establish a “Sister City” relationship and work with their Mayor, City Council, and Staff to begin the process.
In 2000 the Mayor, former Mayor, an Alderman, Town Executive, and others visited Virginia Beach. They were introduced to Arrowhead Elementary School and Kempsville Middle School to establish student exchanges. Pen Pals were created with the Middle Schools and Arrowhead created several program exchanges. Fifth Graders wrote to students at Towerview and St. Malachy’s Primary Schools. Many photos and small gifts were shared. Students in North Down Bangor, as well as Virginia Beach, experienced exciting days when the packages arrived.
In 2001 the signing ceremony was held in the Virginia Beach City Council Chamber with dignitaries of both cities and the Virginia Beach Irish Community in attendance. Sister Cities International Charter was issued on May 6, 2001.
Principals from Arrowhead Elementary and Kempsville Middle Schools visited Bangor and shared programs on Character and Academic improvement. Schools in that area soon implemented these programs providing another example of the value of Sister City connections.