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”.

 

 

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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”





Sunshine at the Opening of Rathlin Sound Maritme Festival

25 05 2013

welcome aboard

 Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham paid tribute to the organisers of the inaugural Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival and said he was looking forward to what will be an incredible week of events.

“In glorious sunshine,  a maritme themed   fancy dress parade made it’s way from Ballycastle  Diamond to the Seafront where it was met by many of the passengers fresh from a Cruise which circled Rathlin Island”

“A lot of hard work has already gone into planning the events for the week, community groups from both Ballycastle and Rathlin have come together with others to work as a team to ensure the events realise theirs full potential.”

“The festival supported by “The Gathering 2013”  runs from 24th May to 2nd 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. During the week long festival the town and island will play host to a wide range of community, cultural and education events and initiatives including sea-food themed events as well as music, drama and films.”

“I have no doubt that this festival will be a success and can grow into a major annual maritime festival. It will be a fantastic cultural event for Ballycastle, Rathlin and the wider region. It will give us all a fantastic opportunity to showcase all that is best in the region”.

“I would urge the entire community to attend and support as many of the events as possible”

Fancy Dress RSMF





Rathlin Island Rue Point and Roonivoolin Walk

15 05 2013

Walk

Information from Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust

The next walk in our Events Programme for 2013 is on Rathlin Island and takes place on the 1st June 2013 at 1.30pm.  This walk takes place during the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival and the ferries will be very busy so if you wish to take part in this walk we recommend you contact Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd on (028) 2076 9299 asap to book your place on the ferry.  The ferry times can be found at the following link: http://www.rathlinballycastleferry.com/tr/index.php?id=timetable0 (Please ensure when booking your ferry that you leave yourself ample time to prepare for the walk.  It is also recommended to bring refreshments.)

 Once you have booked your place on the ferry, please contact either myself or Tierna (tierna@ccght.org) to register with for the walk. More information can be found below. Thank you for your time.

 Take the route less travelled on this beautiful walk to Rue Point, the most southerly point on the island and then on to the RSPB Roonivoolin Reserve and back to the Harbour area. This is a varied and leisurely walk and is also one of the great activities offered as part of this year’s exciting Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival celebrations. Enjoy amazing views of the coastline. Enjoy stunning views of the cliffs, Church Bay and the Northern Irish coastline as well as, during the Festival dates, a Search and Rescue Demonstration in the seas below.

Prebooking is required. Contact Tierna on (028) 2075 2100 or email tierna@ccght.org

We recommend you contact Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd (028) 2076 9299 to arrange ferry travel.

Assembly point: 1.30pm Rathlin Harbour, Rathlin Island.
Date: Saturday 1st June 2013
Duration: Approx 3 ¾ hours.
Distance: 5 miles.
Surface: Tarmac laneway, established tracks and open fields.
Grade: 2.
Footwear: Strong/solid footwear and waterproof clothing recommended. Sunscreen may be necessary and a bottle of water. No dogs please





Launch of Rathlin Sound Maritime festival

14 05 2013

Tall Ships Fairhead

Friday 10th May saw the launch of the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival, set to be one of the highlight events of the summer, beginning later this month on 24 May. The launch event was held at Portnagree House Harbour & Marina Visitor Centre in Ballycastle, the building that is home to the Harbour Master’s office and the Visitor Information Centre and offers impressive facilities for both visitors and locals. The launch event was organised and hosted by Caroline Carey, Acting Tourism Development Manager for Moyle District Council and John Morton, Harbour Master for Moyle District Council, both part of the Festival steering group.

Moyle District Council Chairman Cllr Sandra Hunter welcomed everyone to the launch event and paid tribute to the work of the Festival steering group and all the organisations involved for their efforts to put together such an exciting programme of activities throughout the Festival dates of 24 May to 02 June 2013. The Festival has been organised by a team comprising Moyle District Council tourism and marina staff, Rathlin Development and Community Association, Ballycastle Community Development Group and Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce. Michael Cecil, Chair of Rathlin Development and Community Association, Paul Kerrigan Chair of the Ballycastle Community Development Group and Mary O’Driscoll, Chair of Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce all spoke at the launch to welcome the guests and acknowledge the strong working relationships between the Festival team and outside organisations which has demonstrated how the local area and local businesses can be successfully promoted through this and other exciting tourism events in the Moyle area. A host of other organisations from across NI and beyond are also involved and will be running activities during the Festival, including Ulster Wildlife Trust, NI Environment Agency, Bushmills Distillery, NI Libraries, National Trust Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, Ballycastle Market and many more with representatives present at the launch event.
Guests were treated to samples of the excellent local produce available in Moyle with catering by local cafe Thyme & Co and Morton’s Fish Shop, provided courtesy of Malin Waters and their Sail West programme, with the focus on seafood to tie in with the overall maritime theme of the Festival.
Heavy showers didn’t dampen enthusiasm at the event with guests also visiting Ballycastle marina to see the iconic Colmcille currach, currently moored in Ballycastle and soon to head to Iona in the Western Isles of Scotland before making the return journey to Rathlin Island to take part in the Festival later this month.
The full programme of activities has recently been released for the first Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival which will run from Friday 24th May to 2nd June 2013. Programs with full activity listings as well as tickets for the music events are now available from Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre at Portnagree House on Bayview Road. Headline acts include among others Bap Kennedy, Bagatelle and Skerryvore.

The Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival is aimed at celebrating and promoting local maritime heritage, history, culture, music and food and has grown out of a number of conversations within local communities as well as last year’s successful Sailing Regatta. There has also been great interest from various organisations throughout Northern Ireland and beyond to participate.

This festival is centred on Rathlin Sound, the body of water that lies between Rathlin and Ballycastle and is about inspiring a passion for the sea by bringing together a rich mix of activities and events both on the sea and on land with an overall maritime theme. Events will focus on Ballycastle for the opening weekend and Rathlin for the closing weekend with plenty of activities in both locations throughout the Festival dates.
With on the water and seaside based ‘get involved’ activities including kayaking, diving, paddleboarding, surfing and more, historic and modern sea craft, dinghy and yacht racing, competitions, local and historic talks, tours, guided walks, open days and exhibitions there will be something to interest everyone including plenty of family friendly activities. The Festival will also include a special seafood themed food and craft market with cookery demonstrations, and a Can’t Cook Won’t Cook challenge by local Councillors. Local cafes, bars and restaurants will also be offering special menus and events throughout the event to celebrate our unique food offering. In the evenings there will be a wealth of entertainment to choose from including music, drama and films including great local, national and international singers and bands.
Full details of all activities and events can be found in the Festival program available at Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre and online on Moyle’s new tourism website at http://www.heartofthecausewaycoastandglens.com >, and also on facebook at http://www.facebook/HeartofCCAG or the festivals dedicated page as well as on twitter @heartofccag Head to Ballycastle and Rathlin Island at the heart of the Causeway Coast and Glens this bank holiday weekend 24 May to 02 June for a fantastic family friendly event listed as one of the top events for this year in the NITB International Visitor Guide, on The Gathering website and in Belfast Telegraph’s Ultimate Events Guide for NI.





Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Opportunities in Ballycastle Forest

13 05 2013

Ballycastle Forest

  Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed a report by Outdoor Recreation NI which explores the Tourist and Outdoor Recreation Opportunities in the three major forests in Moyle, Glenariffe, Ballypatrick and Ballycastle.

 Councillor Cunningham continued “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, BallycastleForest 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 TowRiver 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.”