Gearing up for the Giro d’Italia across Moyle

THE Moyle Council area is gearing up to ensure the arrival of the Giro d’Italia race in May is a momentous occasion.

Councillors were given details of how thousands of pounds of money has been set aside for the event which has pink as its signature colour.

The Council will turn the fountain at Ballycastle Seafront pink; install pink lights at the seafront and put in pink uplighters at the ‘Children of Lir’ swan sculpture.

And 3,500 pink hand-wavable flags will be handed out whilst it is hoped to secure large screens for people to gather to watch the race as it approaches their focal point.

Pink bunting will also go up at the focal points in Ballycastle, Bushmills and Cushendall and iconic attractions like the Glendun Viaduct could be lit up pink.

Local groups are encouraged to apply for grants to hold their own Giro d’Italia events.

Moyle Council officer Esther Mulholland said they have been working very hard ahead of the race and the efforts were praised by councillors.

Cllr Colum Thompson (Sinn Fein) said the Council had perhaps under-estimated the budget they have for the event and they need to release more money.

Councillors were told the ‘King of the Mountain’ event during the race will be held at the ‘Vanishing Lake’ near Ballycastle and because of that it is hoped to hold a cycling event there every year afterwards.

Esther Mulholland said the Council has been stretched financially and resource-wise but added that some great ideas have come in from the community and all in all they are confident of putting on a good show.

Council Chairperson, Cllr Cara McShane (Sinn Fein), said efforts are being made to get special brown coloured tourist signs put up along the route after the race to show that the Giro d’Italia took place there.

Council Vice-Chairperson, Cllr Robert McIlroy (DUP), suggested putting historic bicycles from the Causeway Museum Bushmills on display.

He said there is a “real buzz” around the race and fish in a chip shop in Bushmills had gone pink and ladies will be dying their hair pink and even cows will be coloured pink.

Cllr Padraig McShane (Independent) said it would be great to get more money set aside but Council staff had done a “remarkable job”. He said the build-up seems more intense than was the case ahead of the Olympic Flame.