Belfast Telegraph

Cultra Manor set for £3m revamp

By Clare Weir

One of Northern Ireland’s best-known tourist attractions is celebrating a £3m investment to attract the corporate customer.

The money is being spent on a complete refurbishment of Cultra Manor at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, transforming the building into a leading venue for public events and corporate hire which could attract a further £9m to the complex.

The refurbishment of the Manor is one of a series of investments on the museum site including improvements to exhibit buildings in both the town and rural areas and a remodelling of entrance and exhibit areas at the Transport Museum.

The projects are funded by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure.

Speaking during a visit to Cultra Manor, Culture Minister Nelson McCausland said the investment would revitalise both the interior and exterior. “This project will enable Cultra Manor to fulfil its commercial and partnership potential as a premier facility for public programmes, learning activities, corporate events and private hire,” he said.

Tim Cooke, director of National Museums Northern Ireland, which runs the museum, said the latest project was part of a strategy to bring more than £9m of investment into the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.

“Our programme has already seen the refreshment of many exhibit buildings in the Folk Museum area and the opening of the Gilford cinema complex and Ballycultra tea rooms,” he said.

“We are currently planning fresh investment in the Transport Museum to improve existing galleries and add new exhibitions.”

Constructed between 1902 and 1904, Cultra Manor was the family home of career diplomat Sir Robert Kennedy, his wife and four daughters.

When Cultra Manor reopens to the public in June 2011 there will be a series of paintings and photographs of the Kennedy family displayed in the building.

The refurbishment of Cultra Manor is part of National Museums Northern Ireland’s continued programme of development across all its visitor sites.

Belfast Telegraph