Rathlin Island, the only inhabited island off Northern Ireland, has been announced as the runner up in Northern Ireland’s Best Places competition.
The nationwide competition, organised by the Royal Town Planning Institute Northern Ireland, celebrates the places protected, carefully planned or improved by town planners for communities.
Famed for its rugged landscape and wildlife, Rathlin Island took second place behind the historic city of Derry.
Beverley Clyde, Chair of RTPI Northern Ireland said: “Congratulations to Rathlin Island. This is recognition of the central role planners have played in the development of the island’s Policy and Action Plan which has brought in major investment, benefitting the local community and the tourism industry.”
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Joan Baird OBE: “This recognition is testament to the ongoing efforts of Rathlin Development Community Association and all those who live and work on the island. The Association has shown great leadership by working in partnership with Council and other agencies to bring about positive change. Rathlin Island has much to celebrate, with more summer visitors that ever before, the transformation of the Manor House and the recent introduction of a new car ferry. The RSPB Seabird Centre at West Light House is a stand-out attraction and I hope this ‘Best Place’ award encourages even more visitors to come and explore the island’s unique landscape.”
Nominations for Northern Ireland’s Best Places were submitted from the public in April. A Judging Panel whittled the list down to 10 finalists, which the public voted for over six weeks in September and October.
The 10 finalists were: Antrim Historic Core (County Antrim), Merville Garden Village (County Antrim), Armagh Historic Core (County Armagh), Connswater Community Greenway (Belfast), The Cathedral Quarter (Belfast) Giant’s Causeway (County Antrim) Rathlin Island (County Antrim) Lough Erne (County Fermanagh) Derry/ Londonderry Historic Core, Peace Bridge and Ebrington (County Londonderry) and Newcastle and the Mournes (County Down)