Giant Boost for NI Crafters

Newly launched booklet will help showcase the skills and work of homegrown artists from one of the country's top visitor attractions

Sheila Oldcroft and Stephanie Hazelton, from Desalee Textile Art

A new booklet produced by the National Trust is helping to publicise the talents of Northern Ireland's craft artists at one of the country's top visitor attractions.

Made in Northern Ireland celebrates and promotes local crafters and their crafts, and is available free-of-charge from the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre where over 80% of crafted gifts on sale are made by homegrown aritsts.

Bob Kane, Retail Manager at the Giant’s Causeway, said: 'We are immensely proud of the local crafters’ work we sell in the shop. We have such a strong international audience coming to the Giant’s Causeway and we wanted to tell our visitors about the local people who make the crafts we stock.'

Alan Kane, Chief Executive of Craft NI, said: 'The Giant’s Causeway presents a huge opportunity for local crafters to showcase to an international audience. Locations such as this are hugely important for the future of the craft sector. For some international visitors the Giant’s Causeway may be their only stop in Northern Ireland so this is our opportunity to showcase the very best the country has to offer.

'The National Trust approached Craft NI four years ago to work together to increase the number of Northern Ireland makers in the charity’s network of shops across the province.

National Trust Giant's Causeway Made in NI Craft 4

Sharon Regan, of Sharon Regan Art

'To have the Visitor Centre now sitting with 80 percent of its craft produced locally is just fantastic. It is a credit to Bob and Margaret, the Retail Buyers, and the whole team here. I would like to thank them for the tremendous work they do in promoting Northern Irish craft to Giant’s Causeway visitors.'

Heather McLachlan, National Trust Director for Northern Ireland, paid tribute to the local crafters, adding that a strong focus on locally-sourced craft helps the conservation charity 'put something back into Northern Ireland'.

'The National Trust looks after 22% of the coastline in Northern Ireland and the retail items we sell in our shops helps us to carry out essential conservation work in the  very special places we look after such as the Giant’s Causeway, White Park Bay and Portstewart Strand, to name just a few.'

'This is a beautifully produced booklet which I recommend you take away and browse, I know I’m seeing lots of Christmas gift ideas here today. It is wonderful to meet some of the crafters and I want to thank them all for taking the time to come and demonstrate their skills. We look forward to working together and supporting all our crafters in the years to come.'

North Coast Retail Buyer Margaret Dunlop also praised the skills of native craft artists, echoing the 'great memory' visitors to the landmark will have of their time in Northern Ireland to take home.