Ceremony held to mark anniversary of Friends Goodwill ship departure

A ceremony has been held to mark the departure of the Friends Goodwill ship over 300 years ago.

The vessel set sail from Larne in 1717, with 52 passengers bound for America in search of a new life.

Its significant voyage is believed to be the first emigrant ship to sail from Ulster to America in the 18th century.

The ceremony wrapped up Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s two-day Friends Goodwill Festival.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Lindsay Millar, said: “This voyage signified the start of what would become the Great Migration.

“Those on board the Friends Goodwill vessel sailed into the dangerous waters of the Atlantic on route to a new life and fresh opportunity.

“They endured many hardships, including almost running out of food and water with on board sadly perishing.

“It’s important to never forget the stories behind the history, woven into the fabric of Larne’s maritime legacy. This commemorative service quite rightly reflects upon the arduous four-month journey to Boston of the Friends Goodwill.”

A service and scripture reading was conducted in the presence of councillors, naval military personnel and other dignitaries.

The American flag was raised to remember those who made the journey beside the Friends Goodwill monument as a piper played a fitting lament.

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