Minister Edwin Poots has officially opened the newly redeveloped Magheracross Viewpoint site between Portrush and Bushmills and made a visit to Portaneevy Viewpoint on the International Appalachian Trail
near Ballintoy on the north Antrim coast.
The Magheracross project was part-funded (£500,000) through his department’s Rural Development Programme Rural Tourism Scheme, whilst Portaneevy is funded (£405,000) through DAERA’s Rural Development Programme Leader Co-operation scheme.
Magheracross, which is situated on the Causeway Coast Way, is a walking trail stretching from Portstewart to Ballycastle and passes through some of Northern Ireland’s biggest tourist attractions, including the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Redevelopment of the site included the construction of two state-of-the-art, fully accessible viewing platforms extending out to the edge of the cliffs, as well as new pathways, parking and soft landscaping.
The Minister also visited Portaneevy, near the village of Ballintoy, where he saw first-hand how the viewpoint there has also been developed to make the most of the coastal views.
Mr Poots said: “I’m delighted to visit this beautiful area of Northern Ireland and open the newly developed Magheracross site.
“I hope this will serve as another ‘must see’ for tourists along our stunning North Coast.
“The link between this and the development at Portaneevy is an important one for tourists who come here to enjoy our breathtaking coastal outlooks.”
The Minister continued: “Tourism is vitally important to our rural economy, and the competitive nature of the tourism marketplace, especially during recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, cannot be underestimated.
“The creation and development of visitor experiences that showcase our natural landscape and are compelling and accessible to all can offer long term sustainability and growth to tourism in Northern Ireland.”
Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Richard Holmes, said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to welcome Minister Poots to this beautiful part of the borough for the official launch of our redeveloped viewing points.
“Collectively, the projects represent a significant addition to the tourism infrastructure along
the renowned Causeway Coastal Route.
“The views from both locations are simply breathtaking and the new world-class infrastructure offers visitors a closer appreciation of nature’s wonders along our coastline.
“We want to encourage sustainable tourism growth within our local economy and through this collaboration we have ensured a high level of quality in the provision of our public spaces.”