The possibility of an established local tourist trail advanced to another level recently when Darren Quigg, Chairperson of the Ultoniae Cultural and Heritage Society acted as tour guide in delivering one of the future tours.
Themed around the story and legacy of Sgt Robert Quigg VC, the tour visited a number of significant locations in the North Antrim area linked to Robert Quigg VC. Tour guide Darren Quigg who has family ties (great nephew) to Robert Quigg VC delivered a very informative and professional tour which was greatly appreciated by the group from Ballymena who now have a greater understanding not only of Sgt Robert Quigg the soldier but of Robert Quigg the man.
UCHS and the Carson Project based in Ballymena are keen to develop a number of tours examining various social, political and economic themes in the wider North Antrim area. Both groups are funded by the IFI Peace Impact Programme and are keen to encourage the development of local tour guides with sites including castles, churches, significant buildings or heritage sites of the North Antrim area.
Each tour could be adapted to suit school groups, youth groups, interest groups, cross community or single identity groups, tourists and could involve many existing resources which are not being utilised to their fullest capacity.
The Tourism Trail could be developed to include significant local “heroes” or “villains” from our past and may include figures from the WWI and WWII - a number of local men won medals from VCs (Sgt R Quigg) to MMs and Bar (Pte J Meeke & Trooper S Johnston) and John Beckett (George Cross).
The village of Dervock could catalogue heritage as diverse as KK McArthur (Olympic Gold medallist 1912), the ancestral home of William McKinley (25th President of America), Lord McCartney, Ambassador to China and links to Lord Nelson (Captain Adair).
Other heritage in neighbouring villages and hamlets in Derrykeighan, Mosside, Bushmills, Armoy, Ballybogey and Liscolman could also be recounted.
The project would use each stream to ensure community support and benefit from such a project, involving local people in developing sites and training them to be guides. More pictures online: www.ballymoneytimkes.co.uk