It was the first time that The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh had visited The Giant’s Causeway where they were met by National Trust rangers, volunteers, local crafters and some lucky visiting tourists.
Heather McLachlan, Northern Ireland Director for the National Trust said: “It was a huge honour to welcome Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh to Northern Ireland’s most famous natural wonder for the first time. The Giant’s Causeway welcomes more than 880,000 visitors a year from across the world. However today’s visitors were certainly extra special.
“As a conservation charity it was a great opportunity to share our conservation work on the north coast and of course to extend our famous Northern Irish welcome.”
The Royal party met with local craft producers who take the opportunity to sell authentic, Northern Irish products to the huge number of international and local visitors to the Causeway Visitor Centre.
Max Bryant, National Trust manager at the Giant’s Causeway said: “The Giant’s Causeway is a huge motivator for visitors to the island of Ireland and there is no doubt that a high profile visit like this will raise the profile of Northern Ireland as a world class destination even more.”
“We play a big role in the local economy and it was a proud moment for our volunteers, staff and local business people to tell The Royal party about the part they play in the community here. It was also important for The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to simply enjoy this very special place. I am sure they will take home some lasting memories of our stunning Northern Ireland landscape and the world famous Causeway stones.”
Local school children presented gifts to The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh including a piece of north coast basalt and a hand carved bowl made from oak by wood turner Gerard Gray of Taisie Crafts based in north Antrim.
Gifts were presented by:
Grace Higgins (9) present a posy of locally grown flowers to The Queen.
Chloe Walker (10) presented an engraved wooden bowl to The Queen. This has been made from oak with yew insets, by wood turner Gerard Gray of Taisie Crafts based in Glentaisie, North Antrim.
Kiana Walker (12) and Josh Bryant (10) presented an engraved basalt stone to the Duke of Edinburgh.
Local crafters and businesses included: Kathryn McWhirter - Katy Honey, Melanie Brown – North Coast Smokehouse; David Moore – Aunt Sandra’s confectionery; Dorothy Bittles – Melting Pot Fudge; Trevor Woods – Mount Ida Pottery; Gerard Gray - Taisie Crafts.