Charter agreed for Lighthouses

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Plans are progressing to include Blackhead Lighthouse on an all-Ireland trail, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has heard.

The Great Lighthouses of Ireland project is a flagship tourism visitor experience around the coast of Ireland.

It incorporates existing lighthouses and on-site interpretation to provide a high-quality cultural tourism product.

The project is designed to inform and engage the visitor and present the unique stories and history of each location.

Great Lighthouses of Ireland targeted five properties across Northern Ireland and Donegal, one of which is Blackhead Lighthouse.

Following an agreement in May to join the Great Lighthouses of Ireland Partnership, the local government authority gave its approval for a Partnership Charter during the December meeting of the Economic Growth and Development Committee.

“The priorities for the next six months have been established and include charter sign off, setting visitor standards, establishing a measurement system, devising a marketing strategy and plan, PR including social media and website updates, and story keeper’s support,” a members’ report read.

Meanwhile, the operational partners for the Blackhead site will be the Irish Landmark Trust in relation to the self-catering accommodation units, along with the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL), who will retain ownership of the lighthouse, site and responsibilities for maintenance.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will also be involved in organising walking tours from the upper car park in Whitehead along the path to, and into, Blackhead lighthouse.

Further to the beginning of the project, a third high-quality, themed, self-catering accommodation premises has been added to the two existing units at Blackhead and visitor access facilities for the walking tours are nearing completion.

The project has been supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, Failte Ireland, Tourism Ireland and the INTERREG IVA Programme.

A second meeting of the Partnership was due to take place in Howth, County Dublin on December 10.