Lottery grant to establish Portrush Heritage Trail

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Portrush Heritage Group has received £24,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting new Portrush Heritage Trail Project.

Led by volunteers from the local community, the project will provide a unique opportunity for tourists and residents alike to experience the Natural and Cultural Heritage of Portrush.

The project will commence immediately with scheduled completion by March 2018.

The Heritage Trail will involve local people of all ages, creeds and backgrounds with interaction in the study and understanding of the History and Heritage of Portrush.

The Heritage Trail will bring townsfolk into daily contact with Heritage and energise them to support, through volunteer roles, the develop of Heritage Related Experiences in Portrush, eg Heritage Treasure Trail, Re-enactment Events, Heritage Festivals.

It will also link the town’s various threads of Heritage into a single, easy to use, medium to which people can relate and be informed.

This Heritage Journey will include:

* The world-famous fossil embedded dolerite stones of the Lansdowne foreshore, the basalt pile that is Ramore Head and the ages-old White Rocks to the Middle Bronze Age Village of Corrstown. An early Medieval Christian Church and Castle, Viking Raids and Scottish Pirates encamped on off-shore islands.

* The ‘Golden Years’ following the development of Portrush as a Harbour and Commercial Port in 1835 and the arrival of the Railway in 1855 which lead to the development of Grand Hotels frequented by the great and good of the day. The Portrush to Giant’s Causeway Hydro-electric Trams in 1883 and such Portrush institutions as Barry’s Amusements and Arcadia Ballroom will not be overlooked.

* Portrush Lifeboat with its history of rescues, heroic bravery and sad losses will be an important part of the tour .The long tradition of swimming, rowing and diving competitions at the Harbour and the Blue Pool together with regattas in both East and West Bays will be highlighted as will the importance of the many miles of golden sandy beaches and the “bucket and spade” family holiday makers who thronged Portrush for so many years.

Commenting on the award, PHG Chairman John Mc Nally said: “We are delighted to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for this exciting project.

“The Heritage Trail is one of the key priority projects in our Strategic Plan and it will greatly facilitate increased public engagement in our shared heritage. This is a great opportunity to develop and provide an educational experience for both locals and visitors.

“Our aim also is to stimulate economic development by encouraging visitors passing through the beautiful North Coast with all its iconic beauty spots to stop, shop and spend time in the town of Portrush. We want Portush to be seen as much more than the North’s leading recreational holiday destination but also be appreciated for its heritage history which will add a new exciting dimension when promoting our town.”

Paul Mullan, Head of HLF Northern Ireland, added: “Portrush is well-known for its beautiful beaches, the Giant’s Causeway and as the home of many cultural and sporting events. Now thanks to National Lottery players, this new heritage trail will open up many of the area’s lesser-known heritage assets for people to learn about and enjoy, and we are delighted to be involved.”

Portrush Heritage Group (PHG) was established by a number of local historians in 2014 with a mission of raising awareness and appreciation of the Heritage of Portrush and the local area. It is registered with the Charity Commission of Northern Ireland.

The Group’s membership of 130 enjoy a programme of Heritage Evening talks, Community Festivals and Heritage Open Days.

The Group’s key objective is to have Portrush recognised as a Heritage Destination.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about.