New Centre Opens For A Giant World Of Heritage
|A giant transformation awaits visitors to Northern Ireland's only UNESCO World Heritage Site with yesterday's opening of a new state-of-the-art visitor centre at the Giant's Causeway.
With panoramic rooftop views of the coastline available for the first time, the award-winning building is part of an £18.5 million investment - financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB), Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the National Trust - to offer a new gateway to this iconic site.
The new visitor centre was designed by Dublin based architects heneghan peng.
Inspired by the site's 40,000 hexagonal basalt stones and the stories of legendary giants Finn McCool and Benandonner, the main feature of the centre is its 186 basalt columns made from locally quarried stone.
The centre has also been designed to sit seamlessly within the landscape without impacting the view from the stones. Already achieving the BREEAM 'excellent' standard, the centre has been built using the latest thinking in sustainable design and materials.
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•The roof of the building is planted with local grasses grown from seed collected from the surrounding area so that the centre integrates with the landscape and offers a haven for local wildlife.
•Trails and pathways throughout the site have also been upgraded to offer improved access and views of the spectacular scenery.
•Exhibitions, audio guides, trails and cliff top walks, are all part of the project to showcase the stories and science of the remarkable basalt columns to people of all ages.
•New interactive displays and activities inside the visitor centre include an animation of the legend of Finn McCool and an innovative hand-held audio guide.
•Visitors can also discover the science behind how the site was created and read the engaging stories of local people connected to the site.
The £18.5 million project has taken two years to complete.
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