With more than 15,000 visitors a year the Galgorm Castle Fairy Trail is going from strength to strength.
Since opening in 2017, the Fairy Trail has been enchanting visitors of all ages, and families can now book to take their children around the magical experience from its base, the magical Toadstool Cottage.
Special events are held throughout the year at Easter, Halloween, Christmas and over the summer holidays.
“We have families and school groups at our seasonal events that are based on an interactive outdoor experience,” said Stacey Mellon of the Galgorm Castle Fairy Trail. “When the children arrive, they are given a special trail map with a range of interactive clues and puzzles to solve through the spectacular woodland trail in the heart of the Galgorm Castle Estate.
“They can complete it at their own pace whilst observing social distancing and discover some of the unique places through the forest.”
From a Wizard School to a Troll Swamp, every addition has been painstakingly designed by local craftsmen to enchant children.
“All the features have been specially created and many hand-carved,” said Stacey. “There are fairy houses, little fairy doors, gates and tunnels, and even a fairy library and the ever-popular Wizard School
“All the stops along the trail have a different theme and name to keep it interesting and stimulating for our visitors, and there are some lovely surprises as they explore.”
Taking up to two hours to complete, the trail is an integral part of the historic Galgorm Castle Estate near Ballymena, which boasts a café as well as the Galgorm Resort’s Castle Kitchen + Bar restaurant.
In October, the forest is turned into a magical Halloween wonderland.
“At the Halloween events we introduce a wide range of live characters to the trail, to really bring the experience to life. Stacey explained. “Large as life fairies, zombies, mummies and other characters, created to entertain rather than frighten the younger children.
“At the Christmas event, a troop of elves lead our fairy-seeking visitors into the forest, where they encounter festive characters along the trail and at the end Santa is waiting to meet them.”
All the special event guided tours can be booked in advance with set booking times, for up to 40 people.
School and other groups can also book, with additional activities available, including crafts.
The Galgorm Castle Fairy Trail is open to visitors all year, seven days a week from 10am to 7pm (peak season) and 10am to 4pm (off peak) and maps available to collect on arrival. The trail can cater for up to 60 people every 30 minutes.
Seasonal trails and special events vary in times and run over specific dates on a ticket only basis due to demand.
Booking for the Galgorm Castle Fairy Trail, and for special events is via galgormcastlefairytrail.co.uk.
New £1m Sullatober Household Recycling Centre Project Takes Another Step Forward
Plans for a new £1million waste recycling facility in Carrickfergus, have taken another step forward with the closure of the existing site from Saturday 2 October at 5pm.
Residents who currently use the facility will be asked to travel to Larne South Household Recycling Centre (HRC), located at Island Road Lower, Islandmagee from Monday 4 October until early 2022.
Please note that it is necessary to book an appointment to gain access to Larne South HRC. This can be done using Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s online booking system https://mea-hrcbookings.ccgbcapps.com/or by contacting 0300 124 5000 (Option 0).
The new Sullatober Household Recycling Centre, when completed, will be more than double the size of the existing facility to cater for some 40,000 residents. The new facility will be located directly opposite the current recycling site.
As well as increasing the amount of waste segregation by over 20%, the new facility will help Council to divert over 1,000 tonnes of waste from landfill each year.
The development will also result in more efficient waste compaction and haulage, with new material streams for recycling and a reduction in carbon emissions.
Planning approval was granted in December 2020, with Council securing £995,000 in funding from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) for the project.
Work commenced at the site in May 2021 and is expected to last until February 2022.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey, welcomed the progress made on the project.
“The new Sullatober Household Recycling Centre will provide a much more efficient service for the residents of Carrickfergus, and is a welcome milestone in Council’s key strategic aim of creating a sustainable and healthy local environment which is protected for future generations.
“By increasing segregation of waste and the quality of materials collected, the new Recycling Centre will support local processors and the circular economy of Northern Ireland.
“The closure of the existing Sullatober recycling centre from Saturday 2 October at 5pm, will allow for construction works to progress. We are pleased to continue providing a recycling centre service to Carrickfergus and the surrounding areas through provision at Larne South Household Recycling Centre, into early 2022.
“Thank you to our local residents for their patience while the work is ongoing.”
Local Groups in Mid and East Antrim celebrate ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ for Young People
Local Groups in Mid and East Antrim will celebrate the peace building and cultural diversity efforts of young people and the challenges they face with a creative programme of cross-community and multicultural events as part of Good Relations Week 2021.
Good Relations Week 2021, co-ordinated by the Community Relations Council, will run from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th September, with a mix of arts, history, music, sport and culture-based events from a diverse range of organisations across the region.
This year’s colourful programme will include the return of face-to-face events, alongside an expanded online offering of virtual events and digital content. This will include workshops, lectures, panel discussions, feature talks, podcasts, film, music and dance performances, storytelling and exhibitions.
The theme for Good Relations Week 2021 is ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ which celebrates the efforts of young people in their everyday lives to break down barriers, unite communities and act as a catalyst for peace building and cultural diversity in our society.
It will explore how society can better meet the needs of young people and explore the issues affecting their culturally diverse lives today, including sectarianism and racism, dealing with the continuing impact of the past, mental health, isolation, education, faith, the pandemic, and the environment.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey said: “We’re proud to be supporting Good Relations Week for yet another year. We hope this week of events will inspire new ideas and promote respect and understanding in our future generations. Armed with these skills and knowledge, there is no stopping our young people.
“Good Relations Week is an excellent opportunity to celebrate all aspects of our culture and heritage, promote cultural diversity and work together to address sectarianism and racism. It’s also important for many young people who have faced isolation this past year, to reconnect and learn from their peers to foster a future that is truly beneficial to them and their local communities.”
Martin McDonald MBE, Chair of the Community Relations Council, says: “Good Relations Week 2021 will showcase over 200 highly entertaining events that will shine a light on ground-breaking projects and initiatives that tackle sectarianism and racism and promote cultural diversity – all aimed at building brighter days ahead for everyone.
“We are delighted that over 100 different event and content organisers have embraced our ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ theme and helped to shape a truly remarkable Good Relations Week 2021 that demonstrates imagination, enthusiasm, and commitment to building a united community in our everyday lives.”
Jacqueline Irwin, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council adds: Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to this year’s dynamic programme of events, helping to make Good Relations Week a modern celebration of our diverse culture and heritage.
“We are once again thrilled to be able to deliver this showcase of cross community and multi-cultural arts, history, music and culture. We have a packed programme of face-to-face and virtual events, as well as online material. There is so much to attend, watch and experience, don’t miss it! I would encourage everyone to plan their week of events by checking out the programme at www.goodrelations.com.”
Good Relations Week is co-ordinated by the Community Relations Council and supported by The Executive Office. It contributes to delivering the Together: Building a United Community Strategy. The Community Relations Council co-ordinates the week with the support of a Steering Committee comprising of The Executive Office, Department for Communities, Department of Justice, Education Authority, Libraries NI, Cathedral Quarter Trust and The Nerve Centre.
For more information on the Good Relations Week 2021 programme of events visit www.goodrelationsweek.comor keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #GRW2021.