NI Board Supports Candidacy for ‘Extremely Important’ World Heritage Site Status for the Village of Gracehill
Councilors in Central and East Antrim supported a request for assistance in securing Northern Ireland’s second World Heritage site.
racehill Old School Trust is seeking World Heritage Site status for the village, which would place it alongside the Giant’s Causeway.
The village of Gracehill, outside Ballymena, founded by the Moravians in 1759, was Northern Ireland’s first conservation area.
The Gracehill Old School Trust has been actively working towards obtaining World Heritage status from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for 18 years.
Gracehill now has the opportunity to work with two other Moravian settlements in Bethlehem, USA and Herrnhut, Germany on a joint nomination for World Heritage status, the advisers were informed.
The council is convinced that this status would be “extremely important” for central and eastern Antrim, for the benefit of the economy and the tourism sector.
In 2007, the Gracehill Old School Trust hosted the International World Heritage Conference.
Financial support of £ 40,000 has been requested from the Borough Council to help prepare the specialized technical tender.
Bannside Alderman Tommy Nicholl MBE said World Heritage status would place central and eastern Antrim on an “international stage with a new tourism product”.
Bannside TUV Cllr Timothy Gaston commented: “Gracehill is a hidden gem. We must do more to promote it. I think this will attract a lot of visitors over the years. It is a unique village.
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