On Monday the visitors from the Isle of Skye had a business meeting in Riada House, hosted by Ballymoney and Moyle Councils, and including officials from the Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust and the Causeway Coast & Glens Tourism Partnership to explore the further development of the Clan Donald Tourism Trail.
After the meeting they visited the Giant’s Causeway and toured the Glens of Antrim.
After the opening of the new Heritage and Historical Centre at Sheans Horse Farm, the representatives from the Clan Donald Centre, Isle of Skye visited Ballymoney Museum and the Memorial Gardens.
Commenting on the visit Development Chair, Alderman Bill Kennedy, said: “Our visitors were very interested to learn of the history of this part of North East Ulster and to have the opportunity to view the many rare finds from bronze and medieval periods on display in our Museum, and the memorabilia associated with Irish Motor Cycle Road Racing.”
Commenting on the historic links the Development Chair said: “ There is a common history between our two areas, particularly the story of Clan Donald and we are interested in exploring the development of this unique history to our mutual benefits. We completed a feasibility study on potential tourism trails in our borough, funded by the EU Rural Development Programme. This identified, among other things, the strong ulster scots links, and this and other proposals are currently being further developed. Our aim is to increase our tourism product offering, highlight the unique features of our borough and increase visitors.
“ The visit from representatives from the Clan Donald Trust to the opening of Sheans Horse Farm Historical & Heritage Centre presented a marvellous opportunity for us to explore the development of the Clan Donald links here. Sheans Horse Farm is located in our borough and the site of the famous battle of Orra in on the property.
“It is a great tourism attraction and the enhancement of the facility to incorporate a heritage and historical centre adds value to the visitor experience. This part of our borough, on the edge of the Glens, is beautiful and there are some spectacular views along the Orra Scenic Route. We have also plans to enhance the Altarichard View Point where there is outstanding scenery and long distance views to Bally Valley and the North Coast.
“This is the first dedicated centre telling some of the history, heritage, myths and legends of north east Ulster highlighting the strong influence of the McDonald Clan who, in the 16th century, controlled the Highlands and Islands of Scotland along with the North Coast of Ireland from Dunluce to Glenarm. It is a fascinating story which is sure to attract many new visitors and it is great to be able to be part of this and have the opportunity to build on it”, the Alderman enthused.