The Larne public have come out in force to defend their town after what they describe as its ‘disappointing’ coverage in the ‘I love Larne’ documentary.
Business owners and the general public united to tell the Larne Times what it is they most love about living here, paying tribute to the town’s community spirit, shops and local attractions.
Vice Chair of Larne Traders Forum Mark Dobbin told The Times: “We are a great shopping town, the people in Larne are very friendly, we have Carnfunnock Country Park which is one of the top parks in Ireland. We also have the boat with the tourists coming in from other countries.”
Family-owned Ballantine Fashions has been in business since 1939. Joint owner Gordon Kennedy commented: “We think this town has more of a family atmosphere which is welcoming to people. Shops offer customers one-to-one attention rather than a big store experience so there is a more personal service.
“Carnfunnock is close to the town and if families come for the day they can take the kids there and then shop afterwards. There is a variety of shops with independent traders. We don’t see shops closing down all around Larne, we don’t see a lot of dereliction. Larne is a thriving business community.”
Meanwhile, Larne man Roy McDowell praised the natural beauty on the town’s doorstep. He stated: “The town has accessibility to the beautiful country around here. People take it for granted, I go for walks and don’t have to take the car.”
Volunteer at the Northern Ireland Hospice charity shop Joan O’Neill added: Larne is gorgeous, with its people and shops. We have Carnfunnock Country Park, the town park and of course the hospice charity shop!”
Larne resident Steven Doole said that there were several places to visit in the local area. He said: “There’s the town park, leisure centre, Sandy Bay, we have the Stena ferry which for is good for tourism. The town centre has a good mix of traders.”
Owner of The Sweet Life on Main Street Deborah Gardiner commented: I think Larne offers a great wee day, especially on Saturdays when our wee town is buzzing and we have entertainment at Broadway. I used to work in Upper Crust for 20 years and the town has seen some hard times but it’s made it. Larne people are kind and welcoming. We have the museum which opened on Victoria Road, the town park and its facilities, the Promenade, the leisure centre, Carnfunnock Country Park. Everybody knows everybody and if there’s ever anything to be done people rally round. We have a good mix of independent and mainstream shops.”
The message from local traders and the Larne public is clear: Larne is open for business!