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04 Jul 2019

Showcasing Northern Ireland in sand!

~ Tourism Ireland’s sand promotion to be seen by millions around the world ahead of The Open at Royal Portrush ~

A giant piece of sand art – created by a group of award-winning sand artists called Sand in Your Eyes – appeared on Downhill Strand yesterday (Wednesday, 3 July). It’s part of Tourism Ireland’s latest promotion to shine a spotlight on Northern Ireland around the world ahead of The 148th Open at Royal Portrush.
As the excitement builds in the run-up to The Open, Tourism Ireland continues its extensive programme of promotions to leverage the tourism benefits of this once-in-a-lifetime event for Northern Ireland. The organisation invited a group of talented sand artists to create a unique artwork in the sand at Downhill. It depicted five Northern Ireland icons drawn into the coastline: Titanic Belfast, the city walls and the Guildhall in Londonderry, the Dark Hedges, Rory McIlroy swinging a golf club and the direwolf sigil of House Stark from Game of Thrones
To view footage of the sand art, click here.
The temporary sand art was created in low tide. Wednesday, 3rd July was the specially chosen date, as it coincided with a favourable tide sequence – allowing the maximum amount of time for the sand artists to complete their work. Before it disappeared with the incoming tide, spectacular drone footage of the north coast and aerial photos of the sand art were captured. These are being shared by Tourism Ireland with millions of fans and followers on its social channels – including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – as well as with its broadcast, print and online media contacts across GB.
“Our sand art is a novel way to highlight Northern Ireland ahead of The 148th Open,” said Julie Wakley, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Great Britain. “It will be seen by millions of our fans and followers on social media, in GB and elsewhere around the world. Our aim is to stimulate the conversation online about Northern Ireland, our world-class golf and the many things to see and do here – and to inspire people everywhere to come and explore Northern Ireland for themselves.”
Julie Wakley continued: “Tourism Ireland is undertaking an extensive programme of promotional activity throughout 2019, to continue to grow visitor numbers to Northern Ireland. Our activity to leverage the tourism benefits of The Open so far has includedl encouraging those attending the event to extend their stay in Northern Ireland, as well as showcasing Northern Ireland as a host of world-class events and, by extension, a superb golf and holiday destination.”
An aerial view of Tourism Ireland’s sand sculpture on Downhill Strand, celebrating our world-class attractions as The 148th Open comes to Northern Ireland.

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is responsible for in excess of 5.2% of GDP in Northern Ireland and supports approximately 65,000 jobs.
  • In 2018, we welcomed 2.218 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of over £560 million.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language version.