A BRAND new animation of the Finn McCool legend will be among the attractions in the Causeway visitors’ centre, set to open this summer.
State-of-the-art with a focus on local were the key buzzwords yesterday as the National Trust launched the countdown to the opening of the £18.8 million centre.
The original opening date was July 2, but project director for the Giant’s Causeway Graham Thompson has said they are pushing to have the centre opened earlier, in time for the Irish Golf Open at Portrush which starts on June 28.
The National Trust announced yesterday that the building is set to be handed over on May 25, before a trial opening on June 27. The official opening will take place in the autumn.
Local firm Mount Charles will provide the catering at the new facility while jeweller Steenson’s of Glenarm has been brought on board to help create merchandise.
It was also announced that a state-of-the-art hand-held guide provided by Antenna International will be part of the experience when the centre opens.
The centre will be divided into five sections – exploring the Causeway coast, geological story, natural life, people of the area in history and power of the landscape.
The centre will also show a new animation of the old Finn McCool legend. A National Trust spokesperson described it as “bringing Finn McCool into the 21st century”.
The roof of the centre will be accessible, allowing visitors to get a 360-degree view of the surroundings.
The National Trust has also been improving the existing pathways, trails and signage. It is developing an all-access path along the clifftops to ensure that people with disabilities can also enjoy the experience safely.
Mount Charles will also provide the catering at the Causeway Hotel which is currently closed for refurbishment, but is expected to re-open before St Patrick’s Day on March 17.
Admission to the centre when it opens will be £8.50 for an adult, £4.25 for a child and £21 for a family ticket. That price includes parking, access to centre and audio guides.
However as there is a public right of way along the coastal path it will remain free of charge to visit the Causeway itself without going into the centre.
Project director Mr Thompson said good progress continues to be made with the centre.
“The building project is currently on time and on budget and it’s getting very exciting realising that we are on a countdown to open what will be a world class visitor experience,” he said.
Work on the Causeway visitors’ centre, which is expected to be open on June 27, began in January last year.