New Gobbins path will boost Tourism

23 08 2015

MA Gobbins

SDLP Causeway, Coast and Glens Councillor Margaret Anne McKillop has today welcomed the completion of the Gobbins path project and the benefits it will bring to tourism in Antrim and to Northern Ireland as a whole.

Speaking after attending the launch of the paths, Ms McKillop said:

“This path will undoubtedly become a major tourist attraction that will not only benefit the locality of county Antrim, but the North as a whole as it attracts tourists from all over the world.

“This redevelopment of what is an historical coastal path alongside the development of a new on-site visitors centre is a significant investment that has taken a long time to reach completion. In the long term, given that it has the potential to attract 70,000 visitors per year, it will repay this effort.

“I believe the Gobbins path will help to ensure that holidaymakers to the Causeway Coast may stay an extra night and add an extra stop to their visit.  In this way the path will not only become a substantial attraction in its own right but will enhance the overall Tourism package in East Antrim by boosting figures in the Glens and at the Giant’s Causeway.” 





Vote for the Dark Hedges

10 01 2015

Dark Hedges (2)

The Dark Hedges has been nominated as Landmark of the year in the BBC Countryfile Awards.  Can you help us to raise awareness of the campaign and get local people voting? For more information and to vote visit:

http://www.countryfile.com/article/landmark-year-201415

 please circulate to friends, family and followers.  Many thanks.

 





Ballycastle and Glens successfully host 2014 ‘Giro d’Italia’

10 05 2014

 Giro at Crockatinny

After months and weeks of preparation which saw almost everything that didn’t move change colour to pink, Ballycastle and the Glens successfully played host to Day 2 of the 2014 Giro d’Italia.

 The community spirit generated in the preparation for the event wasn’t dampened by the day’s rain.

 Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham said “The Giro is probably the world’s largest cycling race featuring approx 200 of the world’s elite cyclists from around the globe. Ballycastle and the Glens were honoured to host this fantastic spectacle and despite the rain, once again we proved our ability to host major world events.”

 “The spectacular aerial TV shots of the local coast line and the majestic Bonamargy Friary were beamed to a massive global audience and I hope that this can be a major spur to further promote the area as a global destination”

 “Today the local community, independent businesses and Council staff proved themselves to be ambassadors for the area and ideal hosts for tourists and visitors“





Cunningham welcomes £750,000 investment in Glenariff Forest Park

25 03 2014

Glenariff

Moyle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed the plans announced for a substantial £750,000 investment at Glenariff Forest Park under the Forestry Fund.

Councillor Cunningham added: “This investment came after Moyle Council had developed a comprehensive and strategic proposal for the upgrade of forest based recreation and tourist facilities in the three major forests in the Moyle area namely Ballycastle, Ballypatrick and Glenariff.”

“The development of as high quality caravan and camping facility in Glenariff Forest Park will include 43 Caravan and Camper van site plus 9 Timber Tents is the first phase of a much bigger and more ambitious project which will play an important role in catering for and encouraging recreation and tourism within the Glens of Antrim.”

Councillor Cunningham continued

“Forest recreation and tourism promotes a better quality of life and improves people’s physical and mental health.  This development will provide a spur to the fragile rural economy and local community and will help regenerate Glenariff.”





Moyle Community Festivals and Tourist Event Funds

26 02 2014

Funding Direction

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has urged the Tourism and Community Event organisers to avail of the  the Moyle Tourism Events Fund and Community Festivals Fund which will open next week and close on the Monday 31st March.

Tourism Event Fund:

The Tourism Event Fund seeks to provide financial support for events that align themselves to the key priority areas as outlined in the Tourism Handbook 2011-2015. These priority areas are as follows; Cultural tourism, Food tourism and Sports and activities (tourism related).

 The event must also meet the following objectives;

  • Generate economic benefits for the Moyle area through increased visitor numbers and spend
  • Encourage events to extend the tourism season
  • Demonstrate the capacity to grow in terms of spectator and participant numbers and media profile
  • Enhance the visitor experience
  • Enhance the profile and appeal of the Moyle area

 Community Festivals Fund:

The primary purpose of the Community Festivals Fund is to improve the capacity of community festivals and make them less reliant on public funding by providing support and training in addition to funding towards the cost of the events. The Fund enables community organisations to celebrate their cultural identity and to strengthen community relations.  In 2008, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) transferred funds to the 26 Local Authorities to administer to community festivals.  Moyle District Council matches the funding from DCAL and has developed a Community Festivals Fund Grant Programme through which it can provide financial assistance to community festivals in the Moyle District.

 A Community Festival is typically a series of different events with a common theme. The Festival must be initiated and led by a community organisation or a community led partnership.  The community must play a strong part in the development and delivery of the Festival and the Festival should be open to and encourage participation from all sections of the community.  There are two types of community that may apply:

  • geographical communities – villages, neighbourhoods, districts or rural areas
  • community of interest – a group of people with a common interest or concern

 Council has split the Community Festivals Fund into 2 categories of event:

 Small Festivals – one and two day Festivals. Fun day type events are eligible but should be programmed to take place over at least 5 hours and have a range of activities.

 Large Festivals – Festivals lasting 3 days or more and attracting at least 15,000 participants/ spectators overall. Applicants will be required to prove that their event has attracted these numbers of people.





Cunningham looks forward to second Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival

24 01 2014

welcome aboard 

Ballycastle Councillor Dónal Cunningham has expressed his delight that following the success of the inaugural Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival in 2013, the 2014 event is to receive sponsorship from the NITB Tourism Event Fund.

“I have every confidence that this event will continue to grow, and the NITB sponsorship will be an enormous help.”

“This year’s event will  run from 23th  May to 1nd June and will be centred on the Rathlin Sound, the body of water which lies between Rathlin and Ballycastle.”

“For the opening weekend events will focus on the Ballycastle side and then on Rathlin for the closing weekend. Both locations will host events during the week in-between.”

“The spirit of the event is to encourage “on the water ‘get involved’ activities”, there will be a host of historic craft and modern craft and something to interest the whole family.”
“Throughout the event special menus in local cafes and restaurants which will celebrate our unique food offering.  Last year there was great interest in the special seafood themed market which  included cookery demonstrations, and a special novelty event “Councillor Can’t Cook Won’t Cook” jointly won by Councillor Cunningham.”

“On top of all of that there will be wealth of entertainment in the evenings to choose from including music, drama and films. This certainly an event we can all look forward to.”

Sandra Hunter





Ballycastle to host Antrim’s National Hurling League matches in 2014

22 11 2013

 

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has expressed his delight that his home GAA club McQuillan GAC will host both of Antrim’s Allianz National Hurling League Division 1B home matches at Páirc MacUílín in 2014.

The Ballycastle venue will see the Saffrons entertain Wexford and Cork on February 16 and March 16 respectively.

Councillor Cunningham has urged local accommodation providers to make a special effort whether through advertising or special rates to encourage as many visitors as possible from both Wexford and Cork.

“Let’s make these two weekends memorable for the Club, Town and County”





Long term commitment for the Glens of Antrim’s unique landscapes

3 10 2013

Heart of the Glens

 The iconic Glens of Antrim are to be the focus of a new project thanks to the £1.4million grant, which was awarded to the CausewayCoast and Glens Heritage Trust (CCGHT) through HLF’s Landscape Partnership programme. 

Announcing this latest investment, HLF Chief Executive, Carole Souter, said: ““We […] recognise that our landscapes are famous for their beauty throughout the world, and along with our cultural and built heritage, give Northern Ireland its unique tourist offering.  So it is wonderful to be able to commit a further £1.4million through the programme to the Heart of the Glens. They have great plans and I’m excited to see what they deliver over the next five years. We are confident there will be huge benefits for both the landscape and the local communities who live and work there.”

 The Glens of Antrim consist of nine impressive glens on the AntrimCoast which run down to the dramatic cliffs, headlands and bays of the rocky North Channel coastline.  The area is one of high scenic value, important habitats and vigorous community life.  It is a popular tourist destination thanks to its coast road, distinctive farmsteads known as Clachans and traditional field patterns.  The four coastal villages of Glenarm, Cushendall, Cushendun and Carnlough alongside the town of Ballycastle, all designated Conservation Areas, are home to the majority of the population of the glens and each has its own distinct relationship with the glens.

A collection of individual projects will run across the five year programme including activities to support land owners with habitat surveys; help to increase wildlife and develop a plan for the long-term management of the area.  The local community will be able to showcase their unique landscape by taking part in a diverse range of events and activities such as heritage festivals, community photography schemes and archaeology days. People will be trained and supported to help deliver some of the activities through the development of a dedicated volunteer programme.

 Welcoming news of the grant, Maxime Sizaret, Chief Executive with CCGHT, said: “HLF’s strong commitment to the Landscape Partnership Scheme in the Glens of Antrim alongside support from a range of partners including the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, NI Tourist Board Moyle, Larne, Ballymena and Ballymoney Borough and District Councils will bring positive actions during the next 5 years to the Glens’ unique landscapes, heritage and communities”.

 

 





1000 cyclists coming to Ballycastle

22 08 2013

Causeway Sportive

On Saturday 7th September over 1000 riders will be lining up at the start line in Ballycastle ready to take part in this year’s Giant’s CausewayCoast Sportive!

The Giant’s CausewayCoast Sportive is a unique event based on the iconic North Coast of Ireland offering an unforgettable cycling experience through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Ireland.

In the event’s second year, 1100 riders entered and we expect 2013’s event to be even bigger and better with some exciting changes and improvements being made based on feedback from 2012′s event.

There is a choice of 3 routes (57km; 126km; 182km) which all start and finish in the small rural seaside town of Ballycastle in CountyAntrim.

Route 1
The Causeway Coaster, 57km route, is a perfect entry level route for those who are new to the sportive scene or who are keen to soak up the CausewayCoast’s spectacular scenery. Starting in Ballycastle the route heads west towards Bushmills via the Coast Road, this circular route is mostly on flat terrain with some hills but is still classed as a challenge with some pre training definitely required. With a feed station located just after half way in, your energy will be kept up to enjoy the stunning inland scenery back to Ballycastle.

Route 2
The Glens and Coast Route features the breathtaking rugged coastline and the romantic landscape of the glens. This route is geared towards cyclists who are used to pounding out 80-100km routes on a regular basis. The route begins with a steady climb through the magical Glens of Antrim to Glenarm before heading north along the world famous Antrim coast road. At Cushendun, cyclists have a BIG decision to make. Turn left and you will find yourself back in Ballycastle after 20km with one long steady climb to finish. Turn right and the infamous Torr Head Road awaits you. With some epic climbs and hair-raising descents, this option should not be taken lightly. Full respect to any rider who gives Torr Head a bash!!

Route 3
The 182km Giant Killer offers cyclists the chance to cycle through an area of unsurpassed beauty. It is definitely classed as the BIG one and is not for the faint-hearted but for serious cyclists up for a lung-busting challenge. The route starts off by heading west towards Bushmills, along the Coast Road before tackling some reasonably tough, long climbs through the Glens of Antrim. At Glenarm the route follows the coast road all the way back to Ballycastle including the Torr Head Road which is sure to push cyclists of every level right to the limit. Expect to be rewarded with the best scenery on offer along the North Coast of Northern Ireland. Make no mistake this will be a tough day in the saddle with some serious climbs and thrilling descents but for all who complete this challenge it will certainly be a day to remember.

To enter online





Progress on Forest Tourism and Outdoor Recreation opportunities

12 08 2013

 

 Ballycastle Forest

Moyle  SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed Council’s proposals for developing tourist and outdoor recreational opportunities within the three major Moyle forests Ballycastle, Ballypatrick and Glenariffe.

Councillor Cunningham continued “the proposals aim to expand and enhance the visitor experience and will include improving the provision for walking , running and horse riding as well as the addition of  outdoor gym equipment.”

“Ballycastle Forest located as it is so close to Ballycastle town centre has enormous potential. We need to make the most of our visitor and tourist potential, Ballycastle Forest is home to many important archaeological sites, souterrains, megalithic tombs and standing stones and there are many stories to be told about the history of the area.”

 “Ballycastle Town Partnership hopes to extend the Tow River path as far as the entrance to the forest, so there is no reason why the old narrow gauge railway line cannot be developed to form a “Glentaisie Trail” which would facilitate walking, running, cycling, orienteering and horse riding. There are a host of sporting events which could be staged in our wonderful surroundings.”

“The Moyle Way and the climb of Knocklayde can be better promoted, alongside the Red Squirrel safari. With proper planning and marketing we can realise the fantastic opportunity which is on our doorstep”