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Issue 8   May 2018

Lots of great positive news stories in this edition with local prize winners galore and exciting marketing developments and new experiences!

If you have anything you wish to include in a future e-zine please contact zoe.lindsay@midandeastantrim.gov.uk
Tourism brand development gets underway
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council recently appointed AV Browne to work with Council on creating a tourism brand, marketing plan, destination website and social media strategy for all things tourism within our beautiful Borough.   

AV Browne are an established advertising agency and well experienced in Northern Ireland tourism having worked with Tourism NI, The National Trust and The Hastings Hotel Group. 
Both the agency and the tourism team will shortly be getting in touch with the Mid and East Antrim tourism trade to obtain input and feedback on how this brand should look and what important elements you think should be considered. This brand is not only for Council, but for businesses within our Borough too and we encourage you all to get involved!

Look out for future key dates for cluster group consultation.  
Mid and East Antrim at Garden Show Ireland 2018
 ‘Mid and East Antrim’s Magnificent Eco Landscapes’ showcase garden, designed with artist Janet Crymble, was highly commended at The Garden Show Ireland, held at Antrim Castle Gardens in early May.

The garden highlighted some of the important habitats in the borough, from woodland to coast and focused on native planting, promoting local biodiversity and celebrating local heritage. Feature elements included Slemish Mountain, The Glens, The River Braid, The Gobbins and Eden Allotment Gardens. To see the garden design layout click here.

The Parks and Open Spaces team alongside the Tourism Team created an interactive garden with all materials used from recycled and local sources. The timber used was locally sourced from The Glens and the limestone from Kilwaughter. The Gobbins feature includes rock from the Islandmagee coastline itself and NEA Engineering Group recreated the famous tubular bridge in miniature form. 

Tourism staff were also onsite to promote local attractions and activities!





Cherrry Townsend from Kilcoan Gardens, Islandmagee had flowery fun in the Artisan Flower Pavilion and recently had a great article published in the Irish News about her locally grown flowers.

Delighted to also see that Slemish Market Garden won 'Growers Award Silver Gilt' for their vegetable stall and display at The Garden Show Ireland.
MEA visitor guide now available
The latest Mid and East Antrim Visitor Guide is now available from local visitor information centres and for distribution at shows such as Garden Show Ireland, Balmoral Show etc.

Featured information includes accommodation listings, attractions and activities.  Our future publications will be re-designed as part of the proposed new tourism branding. The guide can also be downloaded here.
Funding to showcase our industrial and maritime heritage
Nine projects are to share grants of £500,000 to explore new ways to celebrate and promote Northern Ireland's cultural heritage. The funding is the result of a partnership between the Heritage Lottery Fund, Tourism NI and the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division, to mark the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s project, 'Shaped by Industry – Shared with Pride' will receive £50,000. It aims to connect and promote the industrial heritage of four key sites along the Causeway Coastal Route – Whitehead Railway Museum, The Heritage Hub at Carnlough Town Hall, Flame! Gasworks Museum in Carrickfergus and Whiting Mill, Glenarm.  Live theatre performances will enable visitors to experience life as potential new recruits for the Victorian gas works in Carrickfergus, as a railway porter at Whitehead, as a limestone worker in Glenarm or harbour worker at Carnlough.
The Irish Landmark Trust also received £56,000 to tap into the Irish Lights archive and use this, together with stories linked to each coastal community, to  share the maritime and industrial heritage associated with the Great Lighthouses of Ireland stations at Blackhead, Rathlin Westlight, St. John's Point  and at the Great Light at Titantic Quarter.  Archived material, stories and images will be used to create podcasts, films and infographics, bringing this previously hidden heritage to life and helping to attract new visitors to each site and destination in Northern Ireland.

For full story click here.

Shortlisting success for local industry
We're relighted that 3 of our accommodation businesses have been shortlisted for the Tourism NI Awards taking place on Thursday 24 May 2018 in the Europa Hotel, Belfast.

Ballygally Holiday Apartments are finalists for Northern Ireland's Best Self Catering Stay.

Water's Edge Glenarm are finalists for Northern Ireland's Best Guest House/B&B Stay.

Glenarm Resort & Spa are finalists for Northern Irelands's Best Hotel Stay.
Also exciting to see that the Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle is a finalist for Best NI Event or Festival Experience.

The Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust Artisans at Work initiative, part of the Economusee network has been shortlisted for Authentic NI Experience of the Year. The Borough has 2 participating economusees - Steensons Jewellery in Glenarm and Hillstown Brewery in Ahoghill.

To see the full shortlist for the 40th anniversary tourism awards click here.  Good luck everyone!!

Jorge Lopes, Diageo, Maxine Mawhinney this year’s NITA host and John McGrillen, Tourism NI

Local events seeks traders
The Dalriada Festival, will take place on 14 and 15 July in Glenarm Castle estate. They're particularly looking for providers of crafts, children's entertainment, gardening and local food and drink but will always consider other unique and bespoke trade stands and exhibitions.  

If you're interested in being part of Northern Ireland's biggest family festival email your expression of interest to info@dalriadafestival.co.uk by mid June 2018.  
Perhaps you might want to be part of the Ballymena Show taking place on Saturday 16 June 2018? To apply for either an indoor space within a marquee or an outdoor space email secretary@ballymenashow.co.uk

Exhibitors are also required for Arts in the Park on Sunday 10 June. This event is open to professional artists and creative groups in any medium (visual, applied, music, dance, performance, design, literature) who live, work or grew up in Mid and East Antrim.  If interested E: Larnearts@midandeastantrim.gov.uk.
Women in business programme proposed
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is backing an innovative challenge aimed at boosting female entrepreneurship.

The Northern Ireland Women’s Enterprise Challenge (NIWEC) is a proposed collaboration between Northern Ireland’s 11 councils, Invest Northern Ireland and Women in Business NI.

Its aim is to promote female enterprise, increase the numbers of women considering starting a business and encourage existing female entrepreneurs to grow their business.

The proposed programme elements will include business boot camps, direct mentoring support, residential conference, development of local female networks and a final pitching session to win funding. For full details  click here.
The Heritage Hub hiking programme 
Why not put on your hiking boots and take part in free walking tours to celebrate the opening of the Heritage Hub at Carnlough Town Hall?

Six captivating guided walks are being held by Mid and East Antrim Museum and Heritage Service working with community partners.  

The walks programme is scheduled in the lead up to the official launch of The Heritage Hub at Carnlough Town Hall in June.   For full story click here.
New official tour guide for Hastings Hotel group
Mark Rodgers from Dalriada Kingdom Tours is now working for Ballygally Castle Hotel and the Hastings Hotel group as part of their pool of tour guides.  

He will be guiding high end immersive cultural tours for their guests and providing “guest blogs” for their website. 

Mark is a "Seanachai" a traditional Irish storyteller and an "auld world guide." He is the third generation of his family to guide on the iconic Giants Causeway site.


It's great to see Mark expanding locally into the Borough and we wish him every success! Enjoy his first blog here.
New Raceview artisan market switches to Sunday 
Some fantastic changes are being made to the Raceview Market in Broughshane - it's moving to an artisan / handmade market and changing from a Saturday to a Sunday!

Visitors to Raceview Artisan Market can expect the finest artisan food and handmade crafts in a unique mill setting. The onsite cafe and shops will also be open and there's a beautiful river walkway so visitors can make a day of it!

The market is based in Raceview Mill, which the McKeown family has converted from a derelict mill into a vibrant centre for fledgling businesses, tourism and the arts.  For further information go to www.raceviewmill.com
Glenarm food tour hosted by Irish Feast
Irish Feast, organisers of walking food tours in towns and villages along the Causeway Coastal route, has now expanded to Glenarm!

This unique food tour includes visits to The Glenarm Tea Rooms, Granny Shaws Fudge Factory, Blackthorne and Willow, Steenson's jewellers and the village's 2 historic pubs, Bridge End and the Coast Road Inn.  The Glenarm tour developed remarkably quickly thanks to enthusiastic local businesses and Glenarm Tourism working in partnership with Irish Feast.

If you want to know what food features you'll have to book a tour but we can guarantee Glenarm salmon and shorthorn beef will be on the menu!

It's hoped this half day tour, will run from 10am to 1pm between March and December once or twice a week, depending on season and demand. For up to date tour information go to:  www.irishfeast.com.  If you'd also be interested in working with Irish Feast on their food tours, contact Caroline Redmond:           T:  077182 76612.
Post meet the buyer fam trip


Meet the Buyer took place on 19 April and is an annual event, held by Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland. It was established to boost Northern Ireland's profile as a tourism destination internationally.

This year representatives from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council took part in over 60 appointments with international tour operators from Germany to Kuwait, promoting the many spectacular tourist attractions in the borough.

As part of their experience, 20 international tour operators then took part in a 3-day tour of the Causeway Coastal Route.  Operators visited  top tourist attractions throughout the borough including Glenarm Castle, the Londonderry Arms Hotel for a gin mixing class, dinner and storytelling in the Ballygally Castle and a tour of Carrickfergus Castle.

The filming locations of the popular HBO series Game of Thrones have also become a major attraction for visitors to Mid and East Antrim. The group enjoyed visits to them as part of their tour along the Causeway Coastal Route.

Great to also hear that at least 6 independant tour operators, who met with The Londonderry Arms, even popped by for a visit on the Friday after Meet the Buyer!
Hoteliers clock up 40 years at Dobbins Inn
Congratulations to Derek and Maureen Fallis, who on 1 April 1918 celebrated 40 years at Dobbins Inn, one of Northern Ireland’s oldest hotels.

Returning to the Province from England at the height of ‘the troubles’, the Enniskillen-born couple joined Maureen’s sister and her husband for an ambitious new venture to purchase the hotel.  For full history of Dobbins Inn click here.

Over the years they've welcomed many thousands of visitors from around the world – with television host Philip Schofield, West Indies cricketing legend Sir Garry Sobers and US wrestling icon John Cena among famous patrons.

Consolidating the hotel’s place at the heart of the historic town centre, the couple have overseen rebuilds and renovations of the hotel bar, bedrooms and most recently the restaurant, which re-launched as ‘Landings’ in 2016.  

Underlining the Fallis family’s commitment to not standing still, Dobbins has undergone a major investigation into the building’s origins with extensive removal of exterior plaster and rendering to explore what lies behind. 
Community hotels 'Hotel of the year awards’
Hotels are an invincible part of the communities they are located in. They employ from the community, host business visitors, tourists who visit their towns, and last but not least they are representatives of their corner of the world.
"Community Hotels" recognises the good will of hotels in supporting their communities. They encourage hotels to participate in various community activities including: volunteering, charity support, and fundraising.  Nominate your hotel for the award here Last day to nominate is 15 May 2018.
Vespa World Day offers required
Up to 5,000 vespas will descend on Carrickfergus on Saturday 16 June for the Vespa World Day Concours d' Elegance.  

There will be no food suppliers or traders at this event so Carrickfergus town centre traders are encouraged to develop special or themed offers for visitors attending.  Special entertainment opportunities are encouraged.

Council will be producing a leaflet to issue to all participants and for social media. Special offers should be sent to: zoe.lindsay@midandeastantrim.gov.uk by Friday 1 June 2018.

For further information go to: www.vespaworlddays2018.co.uk or check out the Carrickfergus event information here.


New 'big top' concert concept for Glenarm 
A new festival, May in the Marquee, is coming to Glenarm Castle later this month featuring a fantastic lineup of musical entertainment.

Among the acts performing will be popular Scottish band, Bay City Rollers, internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Brian Kennedy and 'Strictly Classical' hosted by well known broadcaster Sean Rafferty with an 80 strong talented Education Authority youth orchestra and a choir of 300 school children from local primary schools.  Doors 6pm, show 7pm for all shows.

Tickets for all 'May In The Marquee' shows can be purchased directly from Glenarm Castle T: 028 2884 1203 or online here.  
Are you GDPR compliant?
The EU's new data privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect on 25 May 2018.

If you hold and process personal data on your customers, you need to comply with new legislation. This will apply even after the UK leaves the EU.

GDPR requires that you have a lawful basis for the processing of personal information

For further information check out this guidance and useful advice provided by Tourism NI.
Sample royal life at Balmoral Show 
More than 100,000 people are expected to travel to Balmoral Park for the four-day event from 16 to 19 May, with around 40,000 visitors estimated to pass through the NI Food Pavilion – the focal point for all things food at the show.

Visitors to this year’s Balmoral Show can get a taste of royal life as Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will be there showcasing its unmissable tourism sites including Carrickfergus Castle, The Gobbins and Arthur Cottage.

Children will have the chance to dress up as lords and ladies by designing and wearing their very own crowns as they learn all about the centuries-old stone walls of Carrickfergus Castle and its rich Norman past.

The Gobbins cliff path tour guides will be there, hard hats and all, to give visitors an insight into fascinating stories they can experience along the exhilarating walk.

Characters in period costume will also open a window into the historical delights the entire family can enjoy at Arthur Cottage near Cullybackey.

Don't forget you can purchase pre-show tickets online here.    

Eight producers from the Mid and East Antrim Food Network are being given the chance to showcase, sample and sell their products at a heavily subsidised rate.

Linda’s Original, Tom & Ollie, Flossy Treats, Wee Mallows, From Granny’s Pantry, Clearer Water, Hillstown Farm and Granny Shaw’s Fudge are some of the businesses visitors will be able to see.

The borough’s very own answer to Mary Berry, none other than celebrity chef Jenny Bristow, will also be showcasing fantastic local produce at this year’s Balmoral Show, as she makes mouth-watering recipes.

To find out more about the Mid and East Antrim Food Network:

E: amplify@midandeastantrim.gov.uk or visit Amplify Mid and East Antrim.

Plans confirmed for open farm weekend 2018

Seventeen farms have signed up to participate in this year's Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend taking place on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June 2018. 

This popular initiative gives consumers and their families the opportunity to visit farms across Northern Ireland, for free. Each farm event is unique and will help visitors to not only learn how food is produced – but will also give them the opportunity to taste some of their fantastic produce. 

Visitors can plan journeys to participating farms via the website, which lists the various opening times and activities, unique to each farm.

Locally the following farms will be open:  - Drumrammer Farm, 15 Drumrammer Road, Ahoghill BT42 2RD
- Hillstown Farm, 128 Glebe Road, Randalstown BT41 3DT

For other farms and further information go to www.openfarmweekend.com
Larne Times tourism & hospitality award winners


Congratulations to the following tourism and hospitality winners at the Larne Business Awards, held in the Ballygally Castle Hotel on 10 May 2018:

Excellence in Tourism
Winner: Glenarm Marina
Readers Favourite Eating Establishment (voted for by Larne Times readers)
Winner:  Matties Meeting House, Cairncastle

Best Rural Business
Winner:  Matties Meeting House, Cairncastle

Best Start-Up Business Award
Winner: Clearer Water - Acceptable Enterprises Limited

For a full list of award winners check out the Larne Times Facebook page.
Heritage Angel Awards 2018 now open

The Heritage Angel Awards celebrate the efforts of people who go to extraordinary lengths to protect, save, record and share their local heritage. The awards recognise people who champion their local heritage and share and practise forgotten craft skills. They also celebrate young people, recognising their efforts to learn about heritage.

Entries for the Angel Awards are assessed by a panel of experts and volunteers from within the heritage sector before a shortlist is put before the judges, who choose an overall winner from each category. Winners will be announced at a special ceremony at the Guildhall, Derry~Londonderry on 6 November 2018


The Awards have 5 categories:
  • Best Rescue of an Historic Building or Place
  • Best Major Regeneration of an Historic Building or Place
  • Best Contribution to a Heritage Project by Young People
  • Best Craftsmanship or Apprenticeship on a Heritage Rescue or Repair Project
  • Best Heritage Research, Interpretation or Recording
To apply or nominate complete the official application form by midnight, Friday 1 June 2018.
Edwardian house tour at The Gallery Whitehead
The Gallery Whitehead is a contemporary art gallery hosted within an Edwardian House in the seaside town of Whitehead.

The owner, Cynthia Waddell, was born and raised in Whitehead then lived in Scotland and England for over 30 years before returning to open her unique home as an art gallery in August 2012.  Cynthia has been painting since she was 3 years old and is an experienced artist.

The gallery is open 7 days a week from 12-5pm and displays Cynthia's own contemporary and abstract work as well as Victorian and Edwardian prints. All are for sale. The Gallery boasts large ground floor space perfect for displaying large colourful pieces.

A glass extension known as "The Conservatory Gallery" is used as an exhibition space by other artists and each month different artists display and sell their work with artists booked for the next 12 months.  Admission to the gallery on the ground floor is free.

The Gallery Whitehead allows local and distant talent to display their work in a unique environment and actively encourages new talent and young people.

You can check out their Facebook page for more information about exhibitions, prices and events!

Separately and as a new addition, guided historical tours of the 3 storey Edwardian House are offered at £4 per person. The house was built in 1901, by Sam Dowther, a master builder and stonemason, and retains most of its original features including the drawing room, eight fireplaces, six chimneys and plaster coving and cornices.  Tours last approximately 40 minutes and take place with a minimum of 2 persons. Advance booking is required for groups.

The Edwardian House tours will also take place during European Heritage Open Days on Sunday 9 September 2018. This will be the fifth year of participation.  3 tours take place on the day of the Whitehead Victorian Street Fair.
New Crosskeys Inn Irish whiskey coming soon!
It’s been no secret that the Crosskeys Inn, Ireland's oldest thatched pub, have been working on launching their own whiskey.  It’s been a long road since 2014 but they are pleased to announce that they have teamed up with a local distillery to produce a whiskey aimed at both the local and tourist market. 

CROSSKEYS 1654 IRISH WHISKEY will be available soon and they are now taking orders for the first release with shipping overseas available.  There are even branded whiskey glasses and t-shirts!

Don't forget to follow their Facebook page for details of up and coming whiskey tasting evenings!


Tour guide training opportunities 
More visitors than ever want to book a tourist guide and turn their holiday or short break into a more meaningful and memorable experience!

The Northern Ireland Tourist Guide Association (NITGA) provides professional guides who are fantastic ambassadors for Northern Ireland and are experts in key subject areas.

Blue Badge Tourist Guides are the official, professional tourist guides of the United Kingdom.  They are recognised by local tourist bodies throughout the UK, and by Visit Britain as Britain’s official tourist guides.  It is an internationally recognised award and held in the highest esteem by the tourism industry.

NITGA is currently offering interested people the opportunity to train as a professional guide, with a Blue Badge course starting in June 2018.  If interested please download the application form, background information and selection criteria documents or for more information E: sue@nitga.co.uk.  Closing date for applications is 14 May 2018.

Northern Regional College's Farm Lodge Campus in Ballymena is also offering a part time Level 2 Course in Tour Guiding starting September 2018.

This 8 week course is now open for applications. It has been designed to provide the learner with skills in the travel and tourism industry to enable them to develop a tour commentary and lead groups on a guided tour. 

Larne summer arts festival
The Larne Summer Arts Festival will kick off in true style with the Summer Carnival Parade on Saturday 9 June. This year’s theme is all about Dancing In The Street!

There will be live music and entertainment at Broadway from 1pm and the parade will start at 3pm. There will be a change to this year’s parade route.The parade will leave from Larne Market Yard and travel via Circular Road to Quay Street onto Main Street, turning onto High Street and returning to Larne Market Yard.
Arts in the Park will also take place on Sunday 10 June from 1pm - 5pm.  This free event is a celebration of all the artistic, literary, dramatic and performance talent found in Mid and East Antrim.

This special day will feature come and try it art sessions, live music, performances and family entertainment. You can even enjoy a picnic in the Park as part of the Eden Project's Big Lunch!

Check www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk for further details closer to the time.

Potential for a Glens of Antrim greenway

Mid and East Antrim and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Councils are working with Sustrans, to gather your thoughts on exciting plans to create a new greenway connecting Ballymena to Cushendall.

A series of community consultation events will take place this month then Sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, will use this information to do a feasibility study of the route.

Greenways are traffic-free routes for non-motorised use, connecting people and communities for everyday journeys, commuting, leisure and recreation. Potential options between Ballymena and Cushendall are being explored. Plans could also include possible connection to Broughshane or using the former Red Bay Railway.

The project is at the very early stages, with no preferred options, which is why the community consultation events are so important.

They are happening at the times and dates below:

15 May 7.30pm-9pm – Ballymena Showgrounds

17 May 7.30-9pm – Broughshane House, Main St, Broughshane

22 May 7.30-9pm – Glenravel Parish Centre, Glenravel Road, Martinstown

24 May 7.30-9pm – Cushendall Parish Centre, Chapel Rd, Cushendall

For full story click here.

Funding opportunities

Funding of up to £50,000 is available through The Prince's Countryside Fund for rural groups & communities in each of three main areas:-

-To improve the prospects of viability for family farm businesses
-To sustain rural communities and drive economic vibrancy
-To support aid delivery in emergency and building resilience

The fund is open for grant applications from 30 April to 14 June 2018.  To find out more click here.

Applications for the Small Grants Scheme 2018 are now open.  Apply now for funding to improve your local environment and encourage people to have pride in your local community. Grants are available from £500 to £5,000 and are open to volunteer and community groups, all school and third level education organisations, youth groups and sports clubs undertaking civic pride projects throughout Northern Ireland.  The online application can be found at www.liveherelovehere.org
Local accommodation / hospitality / activity news 

Well done to Millside Restaurant Gracehill for being awarded Best Family Friendly restaurant at the Families First awards 2018.

Congratulations to Galgorm Resort & Spa on winning the Best Campaign in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality at the DANI Awards 2018.  They were also named in the Top 3 Best Spas in Ireland at the Image Magazine Ireland Business of Beauty Awards.

Unfortunately Glenravel festival will be taking a year out in 2018 to return bigger and better in 2019.

Ballycarry & District Community Association have decided that the Broadisland Gathering will be scaled down this year. The group does not have the capacity to keep running such a large event without more participation and volunteers.  If you're interested in volunteering to help E: thonboyhume@gmail.com

Well done to Robert Curley at Slemish Market Supper Club on winning 'Best Emerging Irish Cuisine' at the Irish Restaurant Association Awards 2018.

Great news that pollan, Lough Neagh's native fish, has been given the highest honour of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status on par with Parmesan cheese and Comber potatoes. This is massive for food culture in Northern Ireland!

Born 2 Run's inaugural Glenarm Castle Challenge was a fantastic event with over 900 entries so congratulations to them on winning Gold at The Running Awards within the Event Series Category.

Carnfunnock Family Fun Zone has a new carousel for 2018! They also have introduced a new child explorer pass at £10 offering 1 go on their miniature railway, miniature golf, remote controlled boats, walk on water balls, bungee trampolines, remote controlled trucks and bouncy castle or carousel!

A new 'Antrim Glens' map has been produced by Carrickfergus Enterprise Agency as part of their Coastal Communities Funded Tourism Hub!  30 businesses from The Glens area have taken part and its hoped the map will inspire visitors to stop off along the Causeway Coastal route!  Available from visitor information centres and participating businesses.

Norwegian Air has cancelled its Belfast to US flights during the winter months.

Tourism Ireland launched its latest golf campaign in America as the Masters began in the US in April, ahead of the arrival to Northern Ireland of the Open next year.

Representatives from Mid and East Antrim plan to attend the 'Building a Regional Partnership with China Workshop' taking place in Liverpool on 13 June aimed at boosting the Borough’s economic links with China.

Nicola Sturgeon has been invited to Mid and East Antrim to explore a ‘bridge to Scotland’ vision.

Local producers had success at IFEX 2018.

A number of ‘Ghost Tommies’ will be erected in Mid and East Antrim to commemorate the centenary of the end of the Great War.

Don't forget if you're planning an event in the Larne area, send your details to Radio Larne to promote.  E:  larnemidweek@gmail.com

The Windrose's new outdoor terrace is open!  They also have an online booking system now available to reserve the best tables.  Their stunning Marina Bar and Restaurant will also re-open every Friday & Saturday night from 1 June.

Big congratulations to the following local finalists for the 3rd Food Awards Northern Ireland 2018:

Best of luck at the awards on 4 June!

Hillstown Brewery have produced a new beer for McKeever Hotels - the Pecking Peacock so pop by the Adair Arms and try it out!  They also attended the Bergen Craft Beer Fest with a new brew!

Voting closes on Sunday 24 June for the Ulster Tatler Awards.  Vote for your favourite pub, hotel, restaurant, independent travel agent or even website! Brooklyn Bay Diner has already been nominated!

Glenarm Tourism have new heritage blue volunteer uniforms thanks to Volunteer Now so pop by and say hello!

Don't forget that the public consultation on County Antrim forestry runs until 1 June. To view the scoping report and feedback  click here.

The Beach bar has re-opened at the Olderfleet Bar and Lounge in Larne.

Chekkers Winebar, Larne is now offering karaoke bingo!

A 21-gun salute will take place in Carrickfergus on 11 June to mark the Duke of Edinburgh’s 97th birthday.

The Bank House shop, cafe and garden are now open every Sunday from 11am - 4pm, until Sunday 26 August so spread the word!

Yarnfolk, Festival of Wool will be launching their workshops, vendors and ticket sales on 14 May.  They have a Celtic theme this year with the event planned for Saturday 4 August in Whitehead!

Morelli's @ Oaklands Park, Carrickfergus opened at the end of April!  Best of luck with the new venture!  Think that's now the 3rd in our area, after Carnlough and Broughshane!

Flipping crepes closed for a revamp from 16-18 April so check out their new decor and new menu - they even have a build-your-own sundae ice cream cart!

Want to work with Irish Feast?  Love food and talking to people?  Now hiring so email info@irishfeast.com

McDonald's Carrickfergus closed its doors on Sunday 22 April for an exciting new look refurbishment with technological features. The restaurant plans to reopen on Wednesday 23 May.

Brilliant Trails have launched their latest sensory trail at Stormont estate - look out for hidden fairy houses and woodland creatures. They are also taking part in Belfast Titanic's Maritime Festival this May with a new themed trail along the maritime mile!

Rumour has it that filming in North Street, Carrickfergus starts mid May for a BBC period drama called Mrs Wilson.

Mid and East Antrim has been offered the opportunity to host the 2019 All Ireland Pipe Band Championships in Ballymena. We will let you know if this gets the go ahead!

Sad to see the closure of the iconic Fish'n'chicken Inn in Ballymoney Street, Ballymena.  They are however still trading at The Rosses, Tullygarley.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council are considering plans to install a permanent memorial marking the significance of Whitehead airfield during the Great War.

Council staff had the pleasure of showing Arthur Chichester and his son John around Carrickfergus after they popped into the Castle!  Arthur is a descendant of Sir Arthur Chichester. After the collapse of the Ulster rebellion in 1603, Arthur Chichester was appointed Governor of Carrickfergus and quickly became Lord Deputy, and was responsible for the construction of the town walls.  Read more about the Chichester family here.

Proposals for a Cycling Routes Masterplan, aimed at making it easier than ever for residents and visitors to take to their bikes in Mid and East Antrim, have moved up a gear.

Ballygally Castle Hotel have a new duck to add to their collection. Say hello to their Duck of Thrones, available on special tours and afternoon teas.



Belfast International Airport is being bought by the French infrastructure firm Vinci. Will be interesting to see future plans!

From April 1 the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland are required to pay an extra 3.35% for water and sewerage charges on top of a previous rise in March of 1.5% in business rates for Northern Ireland.

Great to also see that Hillstown Brewery are now involved with beer tasting sessions as part of Lough Neagh Tours at the Crosskeys Inn!

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has backed a motion to urge the UK Government to review the current levels of Air Passenger Duty and VAT in Northern Ireland.  For full details click here.

Chef Joni Lutzman, who has been running successful bistro nights, is leaving Coastal Coffee to open his own restaurant in Marine Avenue, Whitehead.  Look forward to hearing more about 'The Lighthouse bistro' when it opens late June / July!

Great to see the following businesses are finalists in the Licensed & Catering News Awards:
- Ballygally Castle Hotel for Hotel of the Year up to 75 rooms
- Galgorm Resort & Spa for Hotel of the Year more than 75 rooms PLUS Outside Space of the Year
Billy Andy's Bar and Restaurant for Pub Food of the Year
Billy Andy's Bar and Restaurant for Tourist Pub of the Year
- Crosskey's Inn for Tourist Pub of the Year.
- Frews Fish and Chips for Fish & Chip Shop of the Year.
All the best for the awards on 1 June.

Congratulations to Parlour Yarns, Carrickfergus on winning 3rd place for the Best independent store-Ireland at the British Knitting & Crochet Awards 2017.

Unfortunately the Carrickfergus Continental Market, that was scheduled to run from 18-20 May, was cancelled due to event clashes.

Season Coffee Shop, Carrickfergus recently extended their seating area so call in and check it out.

Tourism Ireland has launched their campaign to promote the Causeway Coastal route as a must see destination.  Check out all the offers here!  Well done to all the businesses who provided promotions!

Creed Coffee Larne opened on Monday 7 May in Latharna Retail Park. 
Industry dates for the diary 
Date Time Location Event
Tuesday 15 May 10.30am The Gobbins Visitor Centre Joint Cluster (Glens and Gobbins) Speed Networking Event including optional tour of The Gobbins. Please confirm attendance with Norman McBride, The Gobbins Cluster Chair - gm@bgc.hastingshotels.com
Tuesday 15 May 7.30pm - 9pm Ballymena Showgrounds Glens of Antrim Greenway Community Consultation
Wednesday 16 –Saturday 19 May TBC Eikon Exhibiton Centre, Balmoral Park, Halftown Road, Lisburn 150th Balmoral Show
Thursday 17 May 7.30pm - 9pm Broughshane House, Main St, Broughshane Glens of Antrim Greenway Community Consultation
Thursday 17 May 10am - 1pm Volunteer Now, 34 Shaftesbury Square, Belfast, BT2 7DB GDPR & Volunteering
Friday 18 May n/a n/a Give and Gain (Business Volunteering) Day 2018 
Monday 21 – Tuesday 22 May See website Seamus Heaney Homeplace, Bellaghy UK and Ireland Lakes Network Conferencehosted by Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership
Tuesday 22 May 7.30pm - 9pm Glenravel Parish Centre, Glenravel Road, Martinstown Glens of Antrim Greenway Community Consultation
Thursday 24 May TBC Europa Hotel, Belfast Tourism NI Awards 2018
1-7 June n/a n/a Volunteers week 2018
Friday 1 June 7pm Europa Hotel, Belfast 
Licensed & Catering News Awards 
Monday 4 June TBC The Crowne Plaza, Belfast 3rd Northern Ireland Food Awards
Wednesday 6 June 9am - 1pm Invest NI HQ, Bedford Street, Belfast Invest NI - Intellectual Property in the Food and Drink Sector
6 & 7 June 10am - 4pm Volunteer Now, 34 Shaftesbury Square, Belfast, BT2 7DB Managing & Motivating Volunteers
Thursday 7 June 10am- 4pm Fermanagh House, Broadmeadow Place, Enniskillen BT74 7HR Keeping Children Safe: Training for Staff and Volunteers
Thursday 7 June 9am - 1pm North West Regional College, Londonderry Invest NI - Intellectual Property in the Food and Drink Sector
Tuesday 19 &  Wednesday 20 June 9am - 5pm St. Georges Market, Belfast  Digital DNA 2018
Upcoming Mid and East Antrim Borough events 
May is the national month for walking so get out and get involved in one of the May walks taking place throughout the Borough.  Click here for full details.

Carrickfergus Art Club Art Exhibition, Saturday 5 - Saturday 19 May in The Civic Centre, Carrickfergus.  (Closed Sundays)

Friends' Goodwill Music Festival, Saturday 12 - Sunday 13 May, Market Yard, Broadway and Curran Park in Larne.  Free event with live music, dancing, street theatre and family fun activities! 

Raceview Artisan Market, Sunday 13 May from 1pm - 5pm in Raceview Mill, Broughshane.

Back to Bike Run, Sunday 13 May at 10am from Ownies, Carrickfergus.

Down Memory Lane Vintage Film Footage, Monday 14 May from 2.30pm - 3.30pm in Carrickfergus Library.  Booking essential. T:  028 9336 2261

Life and Love in a North Antrim Dialect, talk by Leonard Quigg on Thursday 17 May at 8pm in Cullybackey British Legion Hall

NI Museums Day, Friday 18 May

Come try sailing on Larne Lough
with East Antrim Boat Club, Saturday 19 May from  12 - 4pm.  Register for sessions here.

Braid Comedy Club presents Tim McGarry, Saturday 19 May at 8.30pm, The Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena.

Royal Wedding of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle, Saturday 19 May at 12noon in Windsor!  Plus also FA Cup Final so please plan ahead!  Most of our hotels are offering Royal wedding afternoon teas but booking essential!  

Battle of the Hitler Line, Saturday 19 May, Carrickfergus.

Early pioneer bushcraft and survival course with Northern Ireland Survival School, Saturday 19 - Sunday 20 May.  For further details E: nisurvival@gmail.com 

The MG Car Club Tour, Sunday 20 May, Joymount car park, Carrickfergus.  (See April edition for event details.)

Clachans & Townlands Walk with Glenarm Walkers, Sunday 20 May at 2pm meeting in Glenarm Tourism.
May in the Marquee Weekend Concert Series, Friday 25 - Sunday 27 May in Glenarm Castle.

Midtown indoor variety market, Saturday 26 May from 10am to 3pm in Adair Arms Hotel, Ballymena.

North Irish Parade, Saturday 26 May in Carrickfergus.

Quayvipers Children's Hospice Ride Out, Sunday 27 May.

Cullens Fun Fair, 29 May - 10 June in Carrickfergus Harbour.

Ben Glover, Thursday 31 May at 7.30pm in Larne Town Hall.  For further details click here or ring 028 2826 2495.

A Taste of Ireland Whiskey Evening, Friday 1 June in the Glencloy Inn, Carnlough.

Larne Arts Festival, Saturday 2 - Sunday 10 June in Larne.

The Royal Landing Festival, Thursday 7 - Sunday 10 June in Carrickfergus.  Pageant day Saturday 9 June.  

Larne Arts Festival Carnival ParadeSaturday 9 June at 1pm in Larne town centre.

Food Tour with Toast the Coast, Saturday 9 June from 9am. £105pp.

Larne 30th Annual Horse & Pony Show, Saturday 9 June from 10.30am in Carnfunnock Country Park.  

21 Gun Salute to mark the Duke of Edinburgh's 97th birthday, Monday 11 June in Carrickfergus.

MID AND EAST ANTRIM BOROUGH COUNCIL EVENTS
For full details of event programme click here.

CARNFUNNOCK COUNTRY PARK EVENTS
For full details of event programme click here.

MIDTOWN MAKERS EVENTS 
Midtown Makers Studio & Shop, Church Street, Ballymena
Full programme of events can be found by clicking here. For further information E:  jim@ballymenabusiness.co.uk
T: ​ 028 2568 9430
The Gobbins Cliff Path is now open!
The Gobbins Cliff path re-opened on Saturday 26 April 2018.  Fantastic to see industry participate in the pilot tours including staff from the Adair Arms and Dobbins Inn Hotel.  Lots of media interest with a dedicated tour for local journalists and Alister Bell, Operations Manager featuring on BBC Radio Ulster.  Hopefully you all saw the behind the scene operations on the BBC Northern Ireland 'Home Ground' series in April!
Copyright © 2018 Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, All rights reserved.


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