NI artisans head to Norway conference

The Group that will be attending. PICTURE STEVEN MCAULEY/MCAULEY MULTIMEDIA
The Group that will be attending. PICTURE STEVEN MCAULEY/MCAULEY MULTIMEDIA

Six Northern Ireland Économusée artisans are destined for Bergen in Norway in October to demonstrate their craft and products at the second International Économusée Network Conference.

Tiérna Mullan, Project Officer with the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust, said: “The Économusée concept was developed in Québec in Canada and involves selected quality artisans who open their doors to visitors, offering them the opportunity to take a tour of the premises, discuss the craft and learn about the heritage and the journey of the artisan.

“As part of the project interpretative storyboards are installed in the workshops and the artisans are offered various business support packages.

“The Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust has been involved with this hugely successful and popular project since 2011 when we launched the first Économusée in the UK.

“The conference is offered as part of the business support element of the Craft Reach Northern Periphery Programme and involves partners from Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Norway Sweden, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.”

Carole O’Kane from the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust commented: “Through EU funding and match funding from our two local Councils, Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust and Mid and East Antrim Borough Councils, Nigel Logan from Hillstown Brewery in Ahoghill; Brona Spencer from Steensons Jewellers in Glenarm; Dara O’hArtghaile from Ursa Minor Bakehouse and Sandy Cole from Broughgammon Farm in Ballycastle; Micheal Scullion from Scullion Hurls in Loughgiel and Leona Kane from Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil in Limavady will attend this prestigious event and will have the opportunity to visit the Économusée artisans throughout the Norwegian area.”

Michéal Scullion, Chairman of the Économusée NI artisan committee said: “I have been very fortunate to have attended the first International Économusée conference in Québec in 2012 and I have to say that it was a hugely informative experience.

“With the addition of three new artisans in this phase across our two local council areas the Northern Ireland Économusée network has strengthened and visitors are now recognising the brand.

“All of the artisans involved in this project throughout the eight partner countries are small rural businesses. Being part of the Économusée network provides us with a support mechanism, which helps us to share our craft and market our products on an international platform.

“On behalf of all the artisans across the two local council areas I would like to take this opportunity to thank Martin Clark, Economic Development Officer with the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and Ainsley McWilliams, Head of Tourism at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and the two local councils for their financial assistance to send us to this conference.”