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£4million for Heritage Sites 10 January 2014

Durkan announces £4million for iconic heritage sites in Northern Ireland


Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has announced £4million new funding for a number of major historic sites across Northern Ireland.

Carrickfergus Castle will get the Great Tower reroofed and the dungeons and the ammunitions room opened up. It will provide an exciting new adventure for tourists, families and school children with interactive exhibitions, banqueting and educational facilities and the expansion of community use.

Dundrum Castle will get a new Visitor Facility and an exhibition to present the recently excavated features of the castle in its setting adjacent to ancient woodland.

At Faughan Valley, south east of Derry, the acquisition of 21.5 hectares of improved grassland will provide new opportunities for access to the countryside through the provision of 17 kilometres of public pathways in the area.

Tullahogue Fort is a monument in a mystical setting in the very heart of Ulster. It will get enhanced visitor access, car parking and facilities to enable visitors to enjoy the magnificent history and rich cultural legacy of this place. It will also allow future works to connect to historic woodlands nearby, and the wider heritage, tourism and recreation infrastructure of the wider area.

In addition, funding has also been allocated for repairs at a number of prominent listed buildings including: conservation works to Carlisle Memorial Church Belfast, the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, the Harbour Museum, Derry and Mountstewart, Newtownards.

Mark H Durkan said: “This £4million is a tremendous boost for our iconic historic sites and properties in Northern Ireland. Overseas visitors and local people will be enriched with a much better, much more exciting experience. Schoolchildren will marvel even more so at our rich past.

“The chance to explore the dark dungeons of Carrickfergus Castle, a new visitor facility and exhibition at Dundrum Castle and the acquisition of lands at Faughan Valley are mouth–watering.

“This will be a major shot in the arm for our tourism industry. It will create many more jobs and boost the economies of the areas in which these historic sites are located. Studies show we don’t harness the economical potential of our built and natural heritage as much as other countries in these isles. I want to change that. My vision is for a better environment and a stronger economy and this investment will go some way towards achieving that.

“I also welcome the better access for people and the better use community groups can make of these sites.”

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