Walking tours at Blackhead lighthouse

Blackhead Lighthouse   INCT51-448RM
Blackhead Lighthouse INCT51-448RM

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

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

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

The local government authority agreed in May to join the Great Lighthouses of Ireland Partnership.

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.

MEA Council will also be involved in organising walking tours from the upper car park in Whitehead along the path to, and into, the lighthouse.

In a report presented at Monday night’s meeting of the Economic Growth and Development committee, members heard that a third high quality, themed, self-catering accommodation unit has been added to the existing two at Blackhead and visitor access facilities for the walking tours are nearing completion.

A site meeting to Blackhead will be arranged in the next three months to discuss a development agenda and to agree how the site can benefit from the partnership association, the report added.

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

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Mark McKinty highlighted the importance of keeping Blackhead Path in good condition. “It’s important to make sure that the whole package is attractive to visitors,” he said.

Meanwhile, members gave their approval for the heritage and tourism manager to attend a planning workshop at the CIL headquarters in Dublin this week.