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Travel & Tourism

Planning Go Ahead for Sculpture at Sperrin Heritage Centre

Planning approval to erect a sculpture and carry out extensive works including the relining of the car park, seating, landscaping and associated site works at the Sperrin Heritage Centre, on Glenelly Road in Plumbridge, was granted at today’s reconvened Planning Committee meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council.

The application, which was made by Derry City and Strabane District Council, is part of a wider proposal known as The Sperrins Sculpture Trail which involves the provision of three artwork sculptures at key locations within the Sperrins, in conjunction with two other Councils.

The two other locations are at Davagh Forest within the Mid Ulster Council area and Mullaghacarn Mountain within the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area.  Members at the meeting were informed that the project would proceed in full consultation and agreement with the two Councils.

Planning officials attending the meeting at the Guildhall informed members that having considered the relevant Planning Policy they were satisfied the proposal complies with the relevant policy requirements and that the sculpture is of a suitable design in a rural landscape that will not adversely affect the rural character and landscape of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Members heard that the proposal will not adversely affect the amenity of any nearby residents and will provide a safe access and sufficient parking at the site. They were informed it will not adversely impact any protected sites or protected species. Unanimously voting in favour of planning approval, the proposal was passed subject some conditions and clearance by the consultees.

Details of the sculpture design and drawings are expected to be revealed later this year.

The Chairperson of the Committee Cllr Philip McKinney welcoming the planning decision said the sculpture will act as a focal point for tourism in this local area and as a result bring visitors to the area which in turn will help to sustain the local economy.

The September Planning Committee meeting was held in the Guildhall and attended by members of the Planning Committee and officials only and broadcast live to the public and media via the Council’s Youtube channel.

For more information on this application visit –

Travel & Tourism

Experience an ‘out of this world’ Christmas at OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory

The Chair of the Council, Councillor Paul McLean and Santa enjoy the Christmas OM Odyssey as part of the OM Santa Experience at OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory.

Enjoy an ‘out of this world’ Santa experience this Christmas at OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory.

This Christmas, children can enjoy a Santa experience with a difference at the new star gazing facility at Davagh Forest in the foothills of the Sperrin mountains.

During the OM Santa Experience, children, and adults alike, will be utterly ‘star struck’ as they are taken on a tour of the unique facility and then watch the Christmas OM Odyssey, a bespoke festive film capturing Santa’s magical journey through the sky on Christmas Eve.

The festive film will be screened on the side of the OM building, with families watching from a dedicated viewing area using individual headsets.

Children will then get to write their letters to Santa in the crafts room before getting to deliver them in person to the man himself during a special visit where they will receive a stocking full of goodies.

The OM Santa Experience will run over three weekends beginning on Sunday 28 November and finishing on Sunday 12 December. Tickets cost £10 per child and adults go free (limited to two adults per family).

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Paul McLean is pleased the Council can offer this festive event to families in the district.

“The last 20 months have been extremely difficult for all of us and none more so than for our children who have had to endure so much and adapt to different ways of doing things in almost all aspects of their lives. Christmas is a time of joy and celebration and so it pleases me greatly that we can offer this one-of-a-kind magical Christmas experience to families and children in Mid Ulster this Christmas.

“This year marks OM’s first Christmas, having only opened its doors to the public in June this year. The Santa experience is the perfect debut seasonal event for the centre, complementing and enhancing its already established and successful offering and extending its appeal to the family market.”To book your tickets for the OM Santa Experience, go or telephone the Observatory on: 028 8676 0681

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Travel & Tourism

Stream This Year’s Beef & Lamb Championships Online!

The fourth Royal Ulster Premier Beef & Lamb Championships, in partnership with principal sponsor Bank of Ireland will be streamed online on Tuesday 23rd November 2021 live from the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Balmoral Park, Lisburn.

Last year’s stream proved popular, reaching thousands of spectators worldwide and this year, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) will once again stream both the show and sale at the premium beef and lamb event.

On the day, visitors can watch the Championships live via a link posted on as well as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They can also tune directly into the Royal Ulster Premier Beef & Lamb Championship’s You Tube channel.

The showing of premier beef cattle and lamb will take place on Tuesday 23 November at 11am. This is followed by the highly anticipated auction taking place from 6pm.

This year the event will open its doors to the public and tickets will be available to purchase at the gate. Buyers can opt to attend the sale in person or they can bid for champion livestock online through Beattie Livestock Sales on MartEye. Conditions of entry (proof of COVID-19 status) can be found online at

Admission is £5 for adults and FREE for under 12’s when accompanied by an adult. Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (UFCU) members’ admission is £2.50 and a valid membership card must be presented. Entry for RUAS members is free of charge.

To keep up to date with the latest news visit or follow the Royal Ulster Premier Beef & Lamb Championships on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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