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  • Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Antrim Castle Gardens to host 'Elmer's Big Trail'


Antrim Castle Gardens is to be the venue for a unique public art event touring Northern Ireland as part of a landmark celebration.


“Elmer’s Big Trail” will be hosted at the visitor attraction to mark the 21st anniversary of the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice which is located at O’Neill Road in Glengormley.


Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has agreed £35,000 sponsorship for anniversary celebrations and will host a garden party at Antrim Castle Gardens on May 6.



From June 20 until the end of August, Belfast will host a series of elephant sculptures which will be an art trail based on David McKee’s popular children’s character ‘Elmer the Patchwork Elephant’.


The character ‘Elmer’ has been chosen for this project as he symbolises ‘difference’.



The decorated “Elmers” will be positioned around key landmarks and open spaces in Belfast. Each elephant will be painted by established or emerging local artists.

When the trail leaves Belfast it is to be hosted in the borough from September 2 until September 4.



A report to councillors says:


“Hosting the trail provides an opportunity to attract significant visitor numbers to the borough and showcase Antrim Castle Gardens.”



Mary McCall, Director of Income and Generation at Northern Ireland Hospice, explained:


“Elmer is a much-loved character and represents kindness, differences, acceptance, and friendship which is very much the spirit of Hospice.


“We hope that the community join us in celebrating the care delivered by the Children’s Hospice, enjoy seeing the beautiful Elmers and perhaps learn a bit more about what Hospice is all about.”


The Children’s Hospice provides specialist care to more than 370 infants, children and young people with life limiting and life-threatening illness both in their homes and in the hospice in Newtownabbey.