John C. Calhoun; frontiersmen Davy Crockett and Kit Carson; Texas governor Sam Houston; Samuel Langhorne Clemens (the author Mark Twain); poet Edgar Allan Poe; agricultural inventor Cyrus McCormick; songwriter Stephen Collins Foster; land surveyor William Clark; astronauts Neil Armstrong, James Irwin and Edward H. White, and American Civil War generals Thomas Jonathan ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, J. E. B. Stuart, George Brinton McClellan, Joseph Eggleston Johnston and Ambrose Everett Burnside. Three of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in the north of Ireland. Others with direct family links included Edward Rutledge and Thomas McKean. John Dunlap, printer of the Declaration of Independence, came from Strabane, Co. Tyrone. Today, the rich Scots-Irish inheritance is evident in all aspects of American life.  Mutual interests in culture and historical research on aspects of the Scots-Irish diaspora are maintained through shared educational programs and projects.  Towns in the United States and Northern Ireland which are officially twinned include La Grange (Georgia) with Craigavon (Co. Armagh); Moorhead (Kentucky) with Ballymena (Co. Antrim); Clover (South Carolina) with Larne (Co. Antrim) and Drumore (Pennsylvania) with Dromore (Co. Down). Belfast has also had a capital city twinning arrangement with Nashville (same population of 500,000).  Derry, the North’s second largest city, also has close economic and social ties with Boston, as does Newry with Pittsburgh. Each year, more Americans visit Northern Ireland.  Whether they come on business or on vacation, or to do genealogical research, the cordial reception they get inevitably makes them want to return. The growth of tourism in Northern Ireland is illustrated by the success of the Belle Isle Castle Estate & Cookery School in County Fermanagh. The 400-acre estate on Lough Erne is owned by the 5th Duke of Abercorn, James Hamilton.  He was Tourism Ireland-sponsored keynote visitor to the Stone Mountain Games and the keynote speaker at Irish America’s Stars of the South event at the Commerce Club in Atlanta.  The annual Stars of the South dinner celebrates the best and brightest Irish Americans in the Southern U.S. and also hails Northern Ireland’s links to the Scots-Irish.  Previous honorees have included philanthropists, artists, business leaders, charity workers and volunteers; members of the service industry and armed forces; members of police and fire departments, and members of academia.  This year over 200 luminaries were in attendance. Don Keough, former president of Coca-Cola and now chairman of Allen and Company, accepted a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. James Hamilton, the Duke of Abercorn – a peerage that dates back to 1603 – said that he was delighted to be keynote speaker at the Stars of the South dinner.  “I enjoyed sharing my insights on the extraordinary progress that has been made in Ireland’s hospitality industry in the field of culinary excellence.  This splendid event is a sparkling celebration of the bonds of heritage and kinship that Ireland shares with America’s South.”  Joe Byrne, Executive Vice President in the United States for Tourism Ireland based in New York, said “Tourism Ireland is pleased to participate as a sponsor of the Stone Mountain Festival and at Irish America magazine’s Stars of the South Awards Dinner.  We know that Ireland has experienced strong growth in visitor numbers from many of the states in the southeast of the U.S.  We believe that sponsorships such as this contribute in a meaningful way to building future tourism traffic growth to Ireland from this important region.”