Gobbins to open ‘in a fortnight’

The Gobbins
The Gobbins

The Gobbins Cliff Path is on course to open on August 19, according to the Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

The launch of the flagship tourist attraction was recently delayed for the fourth time this year, after council failed to complete a multi-agency emergency evacuation plan in time for July 9.

The Gobbins visitor centre

The Gobbins visitor centre

However, at a council meeting earlier this week, Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Anne Donaghy assured councillors that the facility would open as planned in August.

She stated: “This is a fantastic tourism attraction which is the envy of many other councils.

“There is already high interest and people wanting to come and visit the Gobbins from across Europe and further afield, and it’s really exciting for this council to be involved in such a big project.”

According to a report presented to the council, the project has been completed with the exception of the cliff top path which it says “is still scheduled for an August completion”.

All tenders for project commencement are in place, an emergency plan has been agreed and the community centre is now available for bookings. An agreement has been reached to develop an overflow car park on adjacent farm land, and council officers have met with Transport NI representatives to agree additional signage.

The site will open to the public for pre-booked tours from August 19 onwards, with familiarisation tours for community groups, council staff and the Press taking place before this. Mrs Donaghy told councillors that a communications and marketing plan had been developed. Issues regarding the site’s video camera system were to be discussed in closed council, from which the Press was barred.

Alderman Gregg McKeen described the facility as “an asset which will spill into other area”, while Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna said she was “absolutely delighted” the facility would open on August 19.

Councillor Stephen Nicholl questioned whether the Gobbins would be marketed at other key tourism locations, such as the Giant’s Causeway.

Mrs Donaghy replied that she was working with Slieve League to urge people to visit the Gobbins, and that Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland are “keen to promote the Gobbins” and interaction between Northern Ireland’s “signature projects.” She said she would ensure promotional material for The Gobbins was available at these sites. Mrs Donaghy confirmed that the Gobbins website would be operational before councillors fly to Milwaukee to promote the facility.