New Heritage and Historical Trail Centre opens today

A new Heritage and Historical Trail Centre which opens today (Tuesday) on Sheans Horse Farm at Armoy hopes to provide a massive tourism boost to the area, writes CLAIRE CARTMILL.

The centre will be officially opened later today by a delegation from the Isle of Skye in Scotland, reaffirming the traditionally close links between North East Ulster and the Highlands and Western Islands of Scotland.

This is the first dedicated centre of its kind which details the history, heritage, myths and legends of this part of North East Ulster.

The Heritage and Historical Trail Centre will give a fascinating insight into the lives of rich and colourful characters that rose to prominence in the early 16th and 17th centuries, a time of great economic, political and social turbulence in this part of Ulster.

A central theme will be the strong influence of the McDonnell Clan who in the 16th century controlled the Highlands and the Western Islands of Scotland and intermittently large parts of the North Coast of Ulster.

Storytelling, wall displays and a trip to view a historic battle site on the hilltop above the farm, brings alive a bygone era and reveal North East Ulster’s previous significance in Irish History.’

The Centre tells of the struggle for power between the Irish Clans and Chieftains and with the English during the 16th century. It focuses on the story of one clan chieftain, Sorley Boy Mac Donnell, who had very strong links with Scotland and on his great influence on the North Coast. His story links many of the old monuments along the Causeway Coastal Route from Dunluce to Carrickfergus Castle with the Mc Donnell clan.