Following an extended pastoral exchange with a clergyman in Manchester, Connecticut, Canon Kerry Waterstone, a Church of Ireland (Anglican) priest, received a request from two congregations in that city asking him to formulate a plan in an effort to help ease the tensions in Northern Ireland. After the experience of his own family here in America, Canon Waterstone felt that the attitudes of teens from Northern Ireland might be changed, so as to influence the future in Northern Ireland, if they could see and experience the way Americans have learned to live together in their melting-pot society.
After obtaining approval from church leaders, Canon Waterstone traveled into Northern Ireland to secure the cooperation of clergy willing to help in the implementation of his plan. Forming the original guidelines for the Project, he focused on the prejudices and stereotypes, which are the root cause of the bitter strife labeled Catholic/Protestant. Nationally, the Project began in the United States in 1975, and by 1995 there were 25 Projects here in the United States.
The first international conference for the Ulster Project was held in Milwaukee in 1984. At that time it was decided there was a need for a common logo. Five logos were submitted at the 1985 International Conference in Wilmington, Delaware. Les Didier from Milwaukee designed the logo that was chosen.
The cross represents Christianity. The four circles represent the United States and the Catholic and Protestant communities of Northern Ireland. The colors stand for the people of the United States (red and blue) and the Catholic (green) and Protestant (orange) communities of Northern Ireland. The overall symbol of a cross within a circle is an ancient Irish tradition known as the "Celtic Cross". Both the Catholic and Protestant communities of Northern Ireland have used the Celtic Cross in their religious rituals for centuries. Although the Ulster Project logo is relatively new, it stylistically pays homage to the ageless wonder of Ireland and her Christian tradition.