A Giant of a Tartan

February 24, 2014

The Giants Causeway Tartan was officially launched today (Tuesday 4th February) at a special reception in Westminster.
The Reception, is a showcase for the Ulster Scots Agency who host an annual event in Westminster to demonstrate their heritage, culture and give an insight as to the Agency’s work.

The event, which has received support from Tourism Ireland as well as the Bushmills distillery and Good Food NI will include dancers, pipers and various speakers from the Ulster Scots Agency as well as a Bushmills whiskey tasting opportunity and traditional Irish and Scottish food sampling.

The tartan has been designed by Coleraine business, Tweedy Acheson & Co. taking inspiration from the dramatic Causeway coastline incorporating the greys of the basalt columns, the green of the countryside and the blue-white of the Atlantic surf.

Tweedy Acheson, one of the North Coast’s oldest businesses, was established in1918 and used its extensive experience to develop the design and weave the fabric for the tartan, alongside Yorkshire firm, Marton Mills. The tartan will primarily be used for making kilts, but the company has also used the tartan design to develop a range of high end lifestyle gifts which are now available online at giantscausewaytartan.com and through various Northern Ireland retail outlets including the Giants Causeway Visitor Centre.

Martin Balmer, Director of Tweedy Acheson, said; “Tartans have always been popular and are now in vogue with many of the fashion houses because of the richness in the fabrics giving a very luxurious product. We recently realised there was interest in a local tartan and it seemed timely to develop a fabric which reflected the stunning beauty of the Causeway area and celebrated the Giant’s Causeway as a world heritage site.

Ian Paisley hosted exhibitors, musicians and dancers at the Ulster Scots event in Parliament this week which also saw the launch of the Giants Causeway Tartan

Ian Paisley hosted exhibitors, musicians and dancers at the Ulster Scots event in Parliament this week which also saw the launch of the Giants Causeway Tartan

“This tartan appeals to both the home market and to the diaspora no longer living in Northern Ireland as it represents a link with home and the Giant’s Causeway which is of course a world renowned iconic site. I am particularly pleased that some of our products are uniquely Northern Irish, for example, our tartan tie is made by Atkinson Ties from Newtownabbey – so from design to finish, it is produced right here in Northern Ireland.”

Plans are under way with the help of Invest NI to sell the tartan further afield to those with links to the Ulster Scots/Scots Irish communities in North America, Australia and New Zealand targeting the diaspora market.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers fashions a scarf from the Giants Causeway Tartan range

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers fashions a scarf from the Giants Causeway Tartan range

Des Gartland, Invest Northern Ireland North West Regional Office Manager, said;

“We are supporting this very important and enterprising business initiative by a locally-owned company which will help Northern Ireland build profile across GB but particularly in Scotland, which is one of the Causeway region’s biggest tourism markets. We will also support the international marketing campaign to boost tourism revenues and hopefully encourage other businesses to explore opportunities to develop products and services geared to tourism.”

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley invited Tweedy Acheson to exhibit at the event in London given the close links between the Ulster Scots and the Giants Causeway. “I thought this was a great platform to help advertise this fantastic new tartan that Tweedy Acheson has created. It is a privilege to help raise the profile of this wonderful creation which epitomises the north coast of Antrim and more specifically the Giants Causeway in its design.

The tartan is registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans in Edinburgh.

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