A MAJOR boost for one of Ballymoney’s top tourist attractions is to start in September, the Times can exclusively reveal.
Drumaheglis Marina and Caravan Park, already boasting unique facilities for campers, caravanners and water enthusiasts, will benefit from a £550,000 scheme to provide new camping pods, an Outdoor Activity Centre, incorpoprating catering unit, three enterprise units, toilets, showers and laundry facilities.
Already started is a project aimed at enhancing the entrance feature, improving road access which includes improved security and the development of a multipurpose building with specialist ‘wet facilities’, a coffee corner, a tourist information point and on-site panels giving a taster of the history of the site, the Bann itself and the Borough of Ballymoney.
The September project will be funded by money from Europe as well as the Council and is led by the Ballymena-based North East Partnership which targets the regeneration of towns and villages on inland waterways.
Councillor Bill Kennedy, who heads up the Development Committee discussing the project, says there’s no doubt that Drumaheglis is a five-star facility which people flock to every year.
“Drumaheglis is as good as you’ll get anywhere in Ireland and the good thing about it is that people come back year after year,” he said.
Another aspect to the park is the fact that it is on the Bann, a popular river for many, and dovetails with a long term aspiration of tourist chiefs in Ireland to be able to navigate the inland waterways from Coleraine to Limerick. The main obstacle is the now derelict Ulster Canal built in the 1800’s to link the Erne system and the Shannon with Lough Neagh and the Lower Bann.
Drumaheglis is one of the few, and most attractive, access points to the Lower River Bann and the only formal link to the River Bann off the Causeway Coastal Route. which is they key marketing tool in this Causeway Region.
Set in a 16-acre site, Drumaheglis has 55 hard standing pitches and marina catering for 32 boats. There is also a woodland nature walk, children’s play area and picnic barbecue areas at the site.
Drumaheglis is also the starting point for a number of identified cycle routes of various lengths and the site is within close proximity of some excellent fishing along this stretch of the Bann and its tributaries.
Both Carrick Craft and the Community Rescue Service plan to establish a base at the site. Community Rescue will also be able to comment on the new radio system which was funded as part of the bigger RIVERS project and the radios are now operational.