£80k jaunting car sculpture tribute to Larne tourism champion

Larne people are being asked to give their views on a proposed life-size sculpture of Henry McNeill.
Larne people are being asked to give their views on a proposed life-size sculpture of Henry McNeill.

A life-size sculpture of a jaunting car, driver and horse is being proposed for Larne town centre.

And Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is keen to hear the community’s views on the £80,000 tribute to the area’s tourism heritage.

Sculptor Kevin Killen has been commissioned to create the piece which will also acknowledge the contribution of Henry McNeill, who began in Larne as a hotel owner and brought tourists to the area from Scotland in the late 1800s.

Henry McNeill needed transport to showcase the Antrim coastline, and so began to line the street outside his hotel with jaunting cars to take the tourists on trips and was able to grow the town as a premier tourist destination.

The artwork will be located at the junction of Pound Street and The Roddens, close to both Larne Museum & Arts Centre and Larne Town Hall.

Council has secured £72,000 from the Department for Communities (DfC) towards this project and will provide a further £8,000 from its own funds.

Residents are being invited to find out more and share their views on the final stages of the unique design at Larne Museum on Saturday, November 16 (3-4pm).

The Mayor, Councillor Maureen Morrow, said: “This piece is designed to be a new community asset that will celebrate the heritage of the town - I am confident it will create an additional attraction for visiting tourists.”

At the event on 16 November, local historian Liam Kelly will speak on the significance of the jaunting car and tourism in the development of Larne.

This will be followed by a short presentation and workshop by the artist on the proposed sculpture and offering the community an opportunity to contribute to the final stages of its design.

Spaces at the event are limited and those interested are asked to contact Larne Museum on 028 28262443 to register in advance.

Separate workshops are also planned with students in local secondary schools over the next few weeks.