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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Council consider events to cover £8,000 cost of opening museums on Bank Holidays in MEA

Opening museums and ancestral homes in Mid and East Antrim on bank and public holidays cost almost £8,000, councillors have been told.

A report presented at a meeting of the council’s Borough Growth Committee on Monday evening indicated just 31 visitors attended Larne Museum and Arts Centre on those days with 1,388 to date overall this year.

Eighty-six visitors turned up at Carrickfergus Museum and the Guard Room at the Warrant Officer’s House on bank and public holidays with a total of 6,660 this year.

Andrew Jackson Cottage and US Rangers Centre at Boneybefore outside Carrickfergus had 74 visitors on bank and public holidays and 2,026 this year.

Arthur Cottage in Cullybackey which reopened on August 1 had five visitors on the bank holiday on August 29.

Councillors were told opening these attractions on holidays costs £243 for each site. None was open on the day of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

Officers are considering providing “tailored events” at these locations on holidays in a bid to boost visitor figures and closing doors early on some weekdays.

Meanwhile, the report said tourism attractions in Mid and East Antrim have “performed strongly” during recent months. The Gobbins in Islandmagee will be closed for maintenance in January and February.

“Whilst recovery post-Covid pandemic is still ongoing, visitor numbers, ticket sales and retail sales have been positive.

“However, museums in the borough, similar to regional museums throughout Northern Ireland, are taking longer to bounce back with attendance numbers down when compared to 2019,” the report said.


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