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Ards And North Down

Living Sculptures Installed Across Ards and North Down

Five ‘living sculptures’ have been installed in Ards and North Down, giving residents in the Borough an opportunity to consider and celebrate our local history and culture.

Five ‘living sculptures’ have been installed in Ards and North Down, giving residents in the Borough an opportunity to consider and celebrate our local history and culture.

Part-funded by the Department for Communities and agreed with the Town Centre Recovery Groups, the thought-provoking sculptures were created and installed by landscaper Eoghan Riordan of Sequoia Design, who took part in the Netflix series, ‘The Big Flower Fight’.

Located in Bangor, Comber, Donaghadee, Holywood and Newtownards, the living sculptures are created with living, growing grasses, vines, plants or trees. These unique, horticultural creations will grow and mature over the coming weeks and are individually themed to represent a key aspect of the history, culture or folklore of each town.

Bangor Mermaid

Captivating maritime tales and nautical legends are often connected with the seaside town of Bangor. This sculpture is inspired by the story of Saint Muirgen, which dates back to the 6th century. Legend has it that monks who had been sent to Rome to deliver a message by Saint Comgall (who founded a monastery in Bangor known as the Bangor Mor) caught a mermaid named Liban in a fishing net while at sea. She promised that if they set her free, she would return to them in one year. When she did return, Saint Comgall baptized her and she became known as Saint Muirgen.

Comber Brent Goose

The Brent Goose design was chosen for Comber to mark the wonderful wildlife spectacle that takes place every year on the shores of Strangford Lough. Each autumn, three quarters of the world’s population of light-bellied Brent geese travel from High Arctic Canada to Strangford Lough. Attracted here by the nutritious eelgrass which grows abundantly on the rich mudflats at the northern end of the lough, they make the shores their winter home.

Donaghadee Waves

Donaghadee’s rich maritime history is evident throughout the town so the Wave sculpture symbolises the town’s strong connection to the sea. As the nearest port to Scotland, the town was the province’s principal port until the middle of the 19th century and much of the town’s development resulted from ships and shipping. On a clear day the views across to Scotland are clear and uninterrupted.

Holywood Golfer

Holywood has a rich golfing history, dating back over 125 years, so this sculpture is designed to celebrate the sporting heritage and wonderful local golf courses that can be enjoyed in the town. The Royal Belfast became Ireland’s first golf club when it was established in 1881 and Holywood Golf Club was formed in 1904. In more recent years, the town has become well known as the home of global golf superstar, Rory McIlroy who took his first swings at Holywood Golf Club.

Newtownards Spitfire

The Spitfire design was chosen to celebrate the long aviation history of Newtownards. Newtownards Airfield was established in 1934 and held a crucial role during the Second World War. The Ulster Flying Club (UFC), which is based at the site, was founded in 1961 and has evolved to become Northern Ireland’s largest flying school.

The artistic living sculptures will remain in place until mid-June.

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Ards And North Down

Keeping Safe Ambassadors Return to Town Centres in Ards and North Down

Two of Ards and North Down’s Keeping Safe Ambassadors, Tori McKinney and Leslie Turner, pictured in Main Street, Bangor. Image Credit: Ian Pedlow

As retail begins to reopen across Northern Ireland, Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Keeping Safe Ambassadors are being redeployed back into the Borough’s five main towns – Bangor, Comber, Donaghadee, Holywood and Newtownards.

Fund​ed from Covid 19 financial support provided to the Council by the Department for Communities, the Keeping Safe Ambassadors will be in place from Fridays to Sundays and will act as a friendly point of contact for businesses, customers and visitors who need advice or clarification in relation to Covid-19 restrictions.

As well as being a reassuring presence in our town centres, they can assist with Council-specific enquiries and signpost relevant concerns to other organisations.

Keeping Safe Ambassadors were initially deployed into the Borough’s town centres during the lead up to Christmas as part of the Town Centre Recovery Plan. They provided a welcome and reassuring presence on the streets, and acted as a point of contact with the Council for the public to raise any concerns. They helped to deal with queries while also reminding people of current restrictions and offering advice.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, said:

“Since Christmas, the Ambassadors have successfully continued their role in targeted, high-footfall areas in public parks and open spaces, so I am delighted that they are now able to return to our town centres once again.

“Their presence will provide confidence to those visiting our town centres and help everyone support our local retailers but please make sure you avoid crowds, follow measures such as wearing masks, queuing and one-way systems, stay patient, and keep safe.”

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Ards And North Down

Ards and North Down In Bloom Community Competitions Launched!

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, is pictured outside Millisle Masonic Hall with Millisle Health and Wellbeing Group representative, Kaye Boyle. The Group won the runner-up award in last year’s Ards and North Down In Bloom ‘Best Community Planting Scheme’ category. (Image: Graham Baalham-Curry) Photograph is courtesy of Graham Baalham-Curry. Image is free to use, single use. Copyright remains with Graham Baalham-Curry.

Ards and North Down Borough Council has launched this year’s Ards and North Down In Bloom campaign and community competitions to coincide with National Gardening Week (26 April – 2 May).

Volunteers from the Millisle Health and Wellbeing Group helped to launch the ‘In Bloom’ community competitions and are encouraging residents in the Borough to get involved for the chance to be recognised for their excellent gardening skills.

There are a number of different categories that cater for all ages with great prizes available for winners and runners-up in each. Categories include Best Kept Front Garden, Gardening for Wildlife, Best Kept Commercial Premises and Best Kept Community Planting Scheme.

There are competitions specifically for young gardeners too, including the Painting Competition, the hotly contested Tallest Sunflower Competition, and new for 2021, the Best School Garden Project.

Connecting With Nature

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, said:

“Over the last year, we have come to rely on our gardens and green spaces more than ever. Gardening is good for you and many of us have rediscovered the importance of connecting with nature for our mental and physical wellbeing.

“Launching the In Bloom competitions in conjunction with National Gardening Week, and with the enthusiastic members of Millisle Health and Wellbeing Group, provides the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits of gardening while also encouraging our residents to help make our Borough bloom once again.

“So I am throwing down green gauntlet to everyone; you can do your bit by filling a hanging basket, planting a colourful shrub, sowing wildflower seeds or installing a nest box. There is something for everyone to do to ensure our Borough looks its best in 2021.”

The community competitions encourage everyone who lives or works in the Borough to think about their local environment and how attractive flowers, plants, trees and gardens can enhance it. By actively supporting this competition, entrants will not only make their garden or business more attractive but they will also contribute to the Borough’s entry to the Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition and other regional awards.

Applications are welcome from all residents and entry is free. You can even nominate a neighbour’s garden or other local properties that you think deserve recognition!

For more information, visit ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/inbloom.

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