Hillsborough village granted ‘Royal’ status

There will be celebrations in Hillsborough this week as the village becomes the first in Northern Ireland to be granted ‘Royal’ status.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 11:11 am
Hillsborough Castle. Pic by Harrison Photography

Following an application by Lisburn and Castelreagh City Council, the village will now become known as ‘Royal Hillsborough’.

The Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Nicholas Trimble met Secretary of State, The Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens today as he announced that Hillsborough Village is to receive Royal Status following a successful bid from the council. Hillsborough will be the first place ever in Northern Ireland to receive this honoured title.

Delighted with the news, Mayor Trimble said; “This is a historic day for Hillsborough, for Northern Ireland and for the UK. Hillsborough is a jewel in our local crown. As a council, we work closely with the community and businesses in the village.

“This exceptional honour comes at an important milestone, the Centenary year of Northern Ireland. I have no doubt that as we emerge from the pandemic, this will contribute greatly to economic growth, tourism and recovery stretching far beyond Hillsborough Village.

“As a council, we have invested significantly in Hillsborough, developing a new state of the art adventure play park, implementing upgrades to the forest with new paths and additional parking as well as a range of infrastructure improvements.

“Royal Status will undoubtedly contribute to our ambition for Hillsborough to become one of the key tourist destinations on the Island of Ireland through the ambitious plans as part of the wider £1bn Belfast Region City Deal.”

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP, who approached the council to submit the application spoke about the historic significance of the village; “Hillsborough’s links with the Royal Family date back hundreds of years. It is steeped in history and countless iconic figures have been welcomed to the village and the Castle including Benjamin Franklin, Bill Clinton, George Bush and of course, the Queen and her family. Important political talks, agreements and significant meetings have taken place here over the years with a focus on peace building, progress and prosperity for Northern Ireland.

“I am delighted that the political and historic importance of Hillsborough is being recognised with such a lasting legacy.”

Head of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Laura McCorry added; “This very welcome news will provide a much-needed boost for tourism in Hillsborough, after a challenging year for the entire industry.

“Hillsborough is a truly remarkable place, with so much to offer visitors – rich history, stunning surroundings and brilliant spots to eat, drink and shop. Sitting at the heart of all of this is the castle we’re privileged to care for, which has been the backdrop for many milestones in the history of Northern Ireland. In common with many local businesses, after a difficult year, we’re now focused on securing our recovery, so this news couldn’t have come at a better time.

“This week, we’re thrilled to be welcoming visitors back inside Hillsborough Castle again. We’re hopeful that this announcement will help us to really put Hillsborough on the map as a tourism destination, inspiring visitors from across Northern Ireland and beyond to come and see everything we have to offer.’