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Familiarisation trip highlights artisan craft and visitor experiences

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A recent trade engagement day organised by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Tourism Team has showcased Bushmills and the surrounding areas.

Representatives of Causeway Coast and Glens Tourism industry and visitor information centres were treated to an insight into the unique visitor experiences in the area with the purpose of demonstrating the range of tourism product.

The tour began with a visit to the acclaimed eatery, The French Rooms where the group were given a talk by Stella Bolton about the new Bushmills Taste Trail. This was followed by Caroline Redmond from Irish Feast who showcased the walking tours available across the local towns and villages.

From here the group moved to Designerie, where the participants enjoyed browsing the stunning range of artisan crafts and art products and had a very special visit to the ‘Maker’s House’, the home of several acclaimed artists. The group met a number of talented artists, including Emma Thorpe from Atlantic Rose Jewellery, Karen Lindsay from Rara Makes (prints), Jim Allen from Northern Wave (coastal art), Yolande Shannan from Irish Weaver and Malcolm Murchinson (ceramics). They had the opportunity to talk to the artist, hear their story and watch them at work creating their unique products for sale.

The River Bush Salmon Station was the groups’ next stop, where the participants were given a fascinating glimpse into salmon conservation and management in the river, with a tour and talk on the purpose built hatchery facilities and contribution to the current levels of salmon spawning.

The artisan theme was continued when participants indulged in a delicious lunch at Tartine at the Distillers Arms and were given a short talk by manager Gary Stewart who is also a local ambassador for the development of the local food product in Causeway Coast and Glens.

After lunch, the group moved to Stranocum to take part in the Dark Hedges Experience, and were enthralled by tales of heritage and myths surrounding the iconic location. They completed their tour with a visit to the Hedges Hotel.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Sean Bateson who met the group at the Dark Hedges, said: “Our Familiarisation Trips are an important part of our Trade Engagement programme which allows operators to experience new products within the Causeway Coast and Glens destination just as a visitor would. We aim to showcase some of the new and unique products within the destination to the frontline staff within the local tourism industry so that they can promote these experiences effectively to the visitors that they interact with on a daily basis.”

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