Borough offered the opportunity to host the All Ireland Pipe Band Championships

Ald Tommy Nicholl MBE.
Ald Tommy Nicholl MBE.

Mid and East Antrim has been offered the opportunity to host the 2019 All Ireland Pipe Band Championships.

The prestigious event, which draws competitors and spectators from around the world, is set to take place in Northern Ireland next year.

And on Monday evening, Elected Members on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council were told of a proposal by the organisers to stage the showpiece in Ballymena.

Speaking afterwards, Ald Tommy Nicholl MBE - who led the campaign to secure the All Ireland Pipe Band Championships in the borough, said it would be a huge coup for the area, providing a fantastic boost for the local economy and tourism.

He said: “I am delighted that we have been made this offer and look forward to working towards Mid and East Antrim coming alive to the sounds of the best pipe bands on the planet.

“Once finalised, the public could enjoy the excellent spectacle of the pipe bands, the skill of the drum majors and the highland dancers in picturesque surroundings, with a brilliant atmosphere that all the family can enjoy.”

Ald Nicholl added: “I am so excited and pleased that we have the opportunity to welcome them to our beautiful borough.

“This event would be an incredible advert for Mid and East Antrim, and would boost our tourism, hospitality and retail sectors, as well as the local economy generally.

“The decision by the organisers to offer the championships to our borough is a great endorsement of Mid and East Antrim.”

Elected Members were advised that further discussions will now take place with the tournament organisers regarding the securing of the event locally.

The championships rotate each year between a venue in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Next year’s event will be organised by the Joint Association Council of the Royal Scottish Pipe Bands Association Branch and the Irish Pipe Band Association.

Ald Nicholl was recently appointed Honorary Vice President of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland.

One of the region’s longest-serving elected representatives, Ald Nicholl has been a long-time president of the Co Antrim section of the prestigious organisation.

The association is dedicated to the promotion of the culture and advancement of pipe and drum music and the encouragement of arts and cultural tourism across Northern Ireland.