Causeway Coast Craft Trail
Here are a few suggestions to inspire your Christmas gifts in counties Antrim and Londonderry.
Start your route from Belfast and take the M2 motorway north towards Carrickfergus. Guided by Causeway Coastal Route tourism signs follow the coast road to the pretty seaside village of Glenarm, one of the nine Glens of Antrim.
Visit the Steensons workshop, which is to be launched as a working museum as part of the ECONOMUSÉE network, whose mission is to promote and keep alive traditional crafts and knowledge. Owned by leading contemporary goldsmiths, Bill and Christina Steenson. The workshop and visitor centre is situated in an old Belfast Savings Bank in the heart of the village and visitors can watch the highly skilled craftspeople at work whilst browsing the various designs on display in their balcony showroom. Commission work is also welcomed.
Drive inland to the village of Loughguile at the edge of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area to visit the Scullion Hurls Economusee. The Scullion family invite you to visit their workshop and explore the exhibition area to learn about the history of hurling, the process involved in making a Scullion hurl and the family connection behind the business. Why not explore the gift shop and treat yourself or surprise someone with a Scullion hurl or one of their many craft products.
Leave Glenarm and continue to follow the Causeway Coastal Route, through Carnlough, Cushendall and Ballycastle to the village of Bushmills. Stop off for a wee dram, a bite of lunch and some seasonal shopping at The Old Bushmills Distillery. Guided tours are also available.
Continue to follow the Causeway Coastal Route to the Pretty Crafty Design Studio, Castlerock (situated in the heart of Downhill Forest, opposite the Mussenden Temple). A working studio supporting 20 local crafters, the showroom and decorative bird garden showcase a wide range of exclusively handcrafted, imaginative and unusual gifts. Open Monday to Saturday from 10.00 to 17.00 and Sundays from 11.00 to 17.00.
Leaving Castlerock, head towards Limavady, and nestled among the yellow fields of Oilseed rape in Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you will find Broglasco Farm , home of Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil Economusee. Owners Richard and Leona Kane are delighted to welcome vistors who can learn about the wealth of golden history behind their award winning products. Please email or telephone to arrange your visit.
Continue to follow the Causeway Coastal Route to the Walled City of Derry, where you can take a step back in time in the charming Craft Village, located in the heart of the city. The village combines craft shops, apartments and a coffee shop. Christmas Shopping in Derry would not be complete without a visit to Austin’s Department Store, the world’s oldest independent department store. Austin’s pre dates Jenners of Edinburgh by 5 years, Harrods of London by 15 years and Macys of New York by 25 Years! No doubt you will agree it’s a shopping tradition.