Regeneration work on Ulster's only working windmill to start this month

  • Regeneration work is due commence early this month at Ulster’s only working windmill, Ballycopeland Windmill.

    The £1.2m investment in Millisle will see the construction of a visitor centre with a coffee shop and play area, a new access road with car parking facilities, and the refurbishment of the existing miller’s cottage and kilnman’s house.

    The work is set to be completed by May 2021, with Lowry’s Building Contractors appointed to carry out the development.

    The initiative has received a £700,000 investment from the Department for Communities, a further £500,000 from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ Rural Tourism Fund and £30,000 from Ards and North Down Borough Council.

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    Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “Ballycopeland Windmill is very important in many ways. It is the only roller-reefing windmill left in the world. It is one of only a small number of windmills still in working order on the island – despite the fact that there used to be dozens in east County Down - and even rarer as it still retains its original machinery inside, along with its ancillary buildings.

    “This project will restore the range of buildings, update the interpretative material, and provide a visitor centre, café and play area. It will build on Historic Environment Division’s work on the windmill itself.”

    Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots added that it “is a great opportunity to invest in our rural built heritage and in so doing enhance this unique tourist offering in North Down” and the Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings said the site “is a unique visitor asset situated on the Ards Peninsula that’s known for its iconic image.”

    He continued: “The partnership investment will allow restoration, enhanced facilities and allow more visitors to experience the wonderful site.”

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    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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