Public’s views sought on £80,000 life-sized jaunting car sculpture for town in tribute to Coast Road tourism kingpin

A sculpture is proposed.

THE community in Larne are being asked to contribute their views on a proposed life size sculpture of a jaunting car, driver and horse for the town.

Sculptor Kevin Killen has been commissioned to create the piece which will reflect the tourism heritage of the town and will also pay tribute to the contribution of Henry McNeill.

A special community event is being held on Saturday 16 November between 3-4pm at Larne Museum where residents are being invited to find out more and share their views on the final stages of the design.

Henry McNeill began in Larne as a hotel owner and brought tourists to Larne from Scotland in the late 1800s.

Once there, McNeill needed transport to showcase the Antrim coastline, and so began to line the street outside his hotel with Jaunting Cars to take the tourists on trips along the Coast Road and was able to grow Larne as a premier tourist destination.

The artwork will be located in Larne town centre at the junction of Pound Street and The Roddens, close to both Larne Museum & Arts Centre and Larne Town Hall.

Mid & East Antrim Borough Council have been successful in securing £72,000 from the Department for Communities (DfC) towards this project and will provide a further £8,000 from its own funds.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Maureen Morrow, said: “This piece is designed to be a new community asset that will celebrate the heritage of the town – I am confident it will create an additional attraction for visiting tourists.”

At the event on 16 November, local historian Liam Kelly will speak on the history and significance of the jaunting car and tourism in the development of Larne Town.

This will be followed by a short presentation and workshop by the artist Kevin Killen on the proposed sculpture and offering the community an opportunity to contribute to the final stages of its design.

Spaces at this event are limited so those interested should contact Larne Museum & Arts Centre on 028 28262443 to register their interest in advance.

Separate workshops are also planned to take place with students in local secondary schools over the next few weeks.

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