Belfast Telegraph

Public asked to name new lions at National Trust's HQ in Saintfield

Rowallane Garden in Saintfield where the new stone lions have been installed
Rowallane Garden in Saintfield where the new stone lions have been installed
The vacant plinths when they were taken

By Cate McCurry

Two new stone lions have taken pride of place at the entrance of the National Trust headquarters over a year after the original sculptures were stolen - and they need your help to name them.

Visitors to the Rowallane Garden in Saintfield will be greeted by the replacement lions following the theft which left police and locals baffled.

Members of the public were outraged when the beloved stone lions that had guarded Rowallane's Avenue Ground for over 100 years went missing in December 2016.

Despite media coverage and appeals through social media, the lions were never recovered.

The trust is appealing to the public for help to choose their names and nominations have opened on the National Trust Belfast Facebook page. Nominations will close at 5pm on Monday, May 7. Entries will then be shortlisted and published on Facebook and the public will be asked to vote for their favourite two names, with the winning names being announced on Thursday, May 17.

Frances Bailey, lead curator for the National Trust in Northern Ireland, said: "Having had the company of the old lions for over 100 years we all felt their loss deeply and so did our visitors. Skilled stone sculptors at Cliveden Conservation took great care to recreate the curled manes and characterful expressions of the old lions, and we are confident that the new lions will be greeted warmly by all."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph