Holywood town centre in Northern Ireland has been given a prestigious new look to reflect its rich history, as part of a £2.4-million-pound public realm regeneration scheme. The project was funded in partnership between the Department for Social Development (DSD) and Ards & North Down Borough Council. Hardscape was involved throughout the project – firstly by supporting AECOM during the design stage by advising on the selection of materials, and then supplying FP McCann with specially selected hard landscaping materials.
The scheme, which was located within the heart of the historic town, features a variety of specialist shops and a handful of traditional pubs, award-winning restaurants, cafes, and wine bars. These attractions are found within tastefully renovated buildings, preserving Holywood’s Victorian character.
Hardscape was tasked with creating a space that reflected the town’s diverse heritage. In the mid-19th century, when the railway was extended along the North Down coastline, Holywood became the residence for Belfast’s industrial elite who built magnificent mansions in the surrounding area. This remarkable Victorian architecture is still around today, including an impressive pink church, and has led to Holywood being recognised as a conservation area. It was therefore essential that the paving reflected this distinctive beauty. Holywood is also home to the only surviving maypole in Ireland; a feature that Hardscape wanted to pay tribute to.
Hardscape used Prima Porphyry for the paving scheme. The stone is most remarkable for its enduring beauty, while also being durable – perfect for the high footfall around the town centre. The use of Porphyry was perfect to reflect the rich heritage of the town – being rich in historical value itself, regarded by both ancient Egyptians and Romans as a royal stone. The majestic purple tones and large grain crystals of the Prima Porphyry paving perfectly complemented the prestigious historical buildings around Holywood.
The end result
Managing Director Mathew Haslam said, “We were delighted to be involved in the regeneration of such a communal area in the public realm. The project has helped to preserve the character of Holywood, complement its Victorian architecture and create a sense of pride for its citizens”.