The Giant’s Causeway Tartan was officially launched at a special Ulster Scots reception in Westminster last Tuesday.
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.
One of the North Coast’s oldest businesses, Tweedy Acheson was established in 1918 and used its extensive experience to develop the design of the tartan cloth 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.
“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 Atkinsons 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.
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.”
The Ulster Scots showcase at Westminster was organised by the Ulster Scots agency with support from Tourism Ireland as well as Bushmills Distillery and Good Food NI.
The event included dancers, pipers and various speakers from the Ulster Scots Agency.
Guests sampled Bushmills whiskey and traditional Irish and Scottish food.
The Agency’s chief executive, Ian Crozier, said: “Our showcase has bought the best of the Ulster Scots culture to the heart of Westminster and we are delighted that the Giant’s Causeway Tartan was there as the best of the Ulster Scots industry and creativity.”
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell, who attended, added: “The company’s new product which received funding from Invest NI should appeal to the home market, those now living away from Northern Ireland as well as the large number of people in North America of Ulster Scots descent.
The tartan is registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans in Edinburgh.