Wartime torpedo retrieval boat part of Antrim and Newtownabbey’s £3m tourism bid

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is seeking a slice of £3m Tourism NI funding which could preserve maritime heritage with an eye on the future.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 4:56 pm

A new partnership will provide local authorities with funding in support of Tourism NI’s Northern Ireland ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit’ campaign.

Proposals being considered by Antrim and Newtownabbey include the refurbishment of ‘The Joyce’, a wartime vessel which is likely to be preserved at Antrim Lough Shore Park as an outdoor exhibit.

The Joyce operated on Lough Neagh from 1943 as a torpedo retrieval boat. It was designed and built by the Admirality for use as a recovery boat during test firing of torpedoes.

The Gateway Centre at Antrim's lough shore.

The 40 ft vessel was decommissioned by the Royal Navy in 1960 and has since been used as a working boat in Weymouth.

It was made available to the council recently through Silvery Light Sailing, a Northern Ireland-based charity, which promotes maritime heritage in association with the Lough Neagh Partnership after the owners wished to “gift the vessel to a ‘good home’” where it will continue to be preserved.

The council’s Community Planning Committee was told in October that officers are “working with the Lough Neagh Partnership to develop the tourism offer associated with the lough and wider history of Antrim”.

Landscaping improvements at the site of Cranfield Church and Holy Well in Randalstown are also being considered.

A number of virtual reality projects was also outlined in a report presented to councillors on Monday evening. These include a “virtual” introduction to Lough Neagh at the Gateway Centre in Antrim and the development of visitor attraction apps.

A recommendation that an application be sumbitted by the local authority to Tourism NI’s Product Development Programme was proposed by Antrim SDLP Councillor Roisin Lynch and seconded by Antrim Alliance Councillor Neil Kelly.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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Click here to read: Merchant Navy’s war service remembered with dedication of memorial at Whiteabbey

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