Why It’s Important To Preserve Local Heritage: The Courthouse Regeneration Project

Why It’s Important To Preserve Local Heritage: The Courthouse Regeneration Project

The regeneration of the prominent Old Courthouse building in Bushmills epitomises what we’re about - supporting community, creativity and connectivity.

Built in the early 19th century, The Old Courthouse building was a symbol of authority serving the community as the Petty Session Court. Now the building is a beautiful reminder of the rich history and heritage of Bushmills which is why we’re so proud to be leading such an important project.

As part of funding delivered by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, Enterprise Causeway secured an exciting €5m of capital funding in January 2019 to transform the prominent Bushmills Courthouse building into a vibrant new Creative Hub.

Work on The Courthouse commenced in 2020 and when finished, is set to support creative businesses, re-energize the Causeway Coast community, create new jobs and build a new peaceful and a prosperous economy.  

The Old Courthouse Building in Bushmills, County Antrim, will be the site of a new, €5m, Shared Space Creative Hub that will seek to engage not only the local community, but individuals and groups from across the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough area and the border to participate in community cohesion and integration programmes via creativity and shared heritage.

Led by Enterprise Causeway, the project will involve the renovation of the 1834 building and will incorporate a new extension that will include: visitor facilities and a shop; a Café, messy studio, 15 workshop spaces; three shared meeting spaces; car parking; and a garden area.

Historically, The Bushmills Courthouse was built by the MacNaghten family of Dundarave Estate in 1834, to serve as a Petty Session Court and as a symbol of authority in the area.

After acquiring the Grade B1 listed building of significant heritage in 2016, Enterprise Causeway aims to design a hub for all like-minded designer makers to cluster together to make, market, educate, support, collaborate and build a strong vibrant creative sector.

By preserving the local heritage of this distinguished building, the Bushmills Courthouse can be given a new lease of creative life which will help shape the careers of future creative generations along the North Coast.

This project will serve as an example for generations to come. The building has been an inspiration for many artists over the years and now our very own photographer, Laura McIlveen is cataloguing the regeneration story which you can see from these beautiful images.

The additional space will be used to deliver activities and workshops that will bring people from all backgrounds, ages and abilities together and raise their aspirations of what’s possible when we work together creatively and collaboratively.

In addition to the capital build project, a Community Arts Engagement Programme will be rolled out. Some activity has already occurred over the summer months, with Enterprise Causeway having facilitated 10 different programmes to over 300 people, including pottery and macramé for adults; scratch art; kite making for teens and a mini maker back-to-nature art competition.

The project is currently awaiting planning approval and Enterprise Causeway are hopeful of commencing building works soon, with a target completion of March 2023.

If you’d like to learn more about our involvement with the project, visit The Community Pod upstairs in the Designerie , where you can see the plans for The Courthouse and chat to our staff about this exciting programme.

From L-R: 1.Mark O’Donnell, Deputy Secretary for Housing , Urban Regeneration and Local Government from the Department for Communities. 2.Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive Officer, Special EU programme Body 3.Councillor Richard Holmes, Mayor Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, 4.Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive, Enterprise Causeway 5.Kieran Moylan, Principal Officer of the Libraries Development and Community Policy Unit, Department of Rural and Community Development Ireland