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Charging for entry to Causeway site wrong


As a frequent visitor to the North Coast, National Trust member and someone who works in the tourism industry, I must say that I find the National Trust's management of the Causeway to be an embarrassment.

A visit to the Causeway can cost the unwary £9 per adult and £4.50 per child (£22 per family), when, in fact, there is a (begrudgingly acknowledged) public right of way to the stones. They're free.

On my last visit, I decided to nip into the coffee shop to grab a takeaway coffee and found that, if I had not been a member, I would have had to pay the £9 admission fee just to buy a drink. So, I looked around to see what I would get for my money.

About a third of the visitor centre is the cafe, a third the shop and the last third the few displays and toilets. Who in their right mind charges an entry fee into a shop and cafe?

But, then again, if they only charged admission to the visitor information portion of the building, the lack of value for money would be highly apparent to all.

There also seems to be some confusion as to where the Runkerry road ends and the public right of way begins.

Every day, coach tours drop off foot passengers to visit the stones and then struggle to find a waiting space, fighting other vehicles and footfall in an attempt to accommodate the thousands of visitors who wish to visit what is, in effect, a free site.

It is about time this World Heritage site was run to maximise its ease of access, rather than to maximise the amount of money that the National Trust can make from unsuspecting tourists.

Let's have the Northern Ireland Environment Agency take over the management of the site (perhaps as a National Park?), with free entry and plenty of provision for coaches and daytrippers.

Charging for entry to this site really is unjustifiable.


Belfast Telegraph


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