St George and the Dragon, part of the
Downing Street silver collection that goes
on display at Hillsborough Castle next week.
NORTHERN Ireland's annual celebration of
craft kicks off today (Friday August 1) in Hillsborough.
Organised by Craft NI, August Craft Month 08
opens with a packed calendar of over 30 events taking place
across Northern Ireland.
The festival offers everyone an opportunity
to experience craft and to join in and get some hands-on
experience of craft making.
Featuring celebrated talent and emerging
craftmakers from Northern Ireland and abroad, activities during
August Craft Month include a 'Silver Trail' of 5 major silver
exhibitions. The trail starts with a display of cutting-edge
silver - the CONNECT collection — at Hillsborough Courthouse.
Across the square at Hillsborough Castle, the first ever
display of the Silver Trust's collection in Northern Ireland
will also be unveiled. This lavish display of ornate tableware
is used to entertain important guests and heads of state at 10
Downing Street. Expected to have particular appeal for tourists,
this wide-ranging programme of events is supported by the
Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
Other highlights of August Craft Month will
include visiting Indian artist Ranbir Kaur at this year's
Belfast Mela on 24 August in the Botanic Gardens, Craft Fest at
Strangford Lough, the Creative Peninsula throughout the Ards and
Woodfest at Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh.
As Joe Kelly, Director of Craft NI explains,
this partnership represents a major step in developing important
links between craft and tourism:
"In light of the recent comments by Northern
Ireland's First Minister on the potential for cultural tourism
in Northern Ireland, this partnership represents a very timely
opportunity,' said Joe.
"Craft NI is already aware of the potential
for craft in attracting visitors to Northern Ireland and we are
committed to building on this potential." "Over the next 3
years, we will be looking to strengthen this partnership with
August Craft Month becoming a major event on Northern Ireland's
A full guide to the events taking place
during August Craft Month is available from tourist offices,
libraries and other cultural hotspots across Northern Ireland
To find out more about what's happening
during August Craft Month 08 visit
• The Silver Trust Downing Street Collection
is opening at 12.30pm, Friday August 1 with a private viewing at
Hillsborough Castle. The collection will be open to the public
from Monday August 4 to August 15 for general public, cost of
entry £5. Consists of 300 contemporary pieces used exclusively
for No 10. This is the first time the collection has been to NI.
For more information
Christopher English, from the Silver
Trust, unpacks a large silver 'table fountain' at
Hillsborough Castle, centrepiece of the Downing
Street Collection which will go on display next
week. The collection, used at No 10 Downing Street
for state banquets, comprises 300 contemporary
silver pieces including plates, condiment and cruet
sets, bowls and cutlery designed by leading
silversmiths. It was first unveiled for the state
visit of French president Francois Metterand in 1993
and was most recently used for the visit of US
president George W Bush. Owned by the Silver Trust,
the collection is permanently housed at Downing
Street except during the summer recess when it tours
different parts of the country. This is the first
time it has come to Northern Ireland. It will be on
display at Hillsborough Castle from next Monday,
August 4, until August 15, and can be viewed by the
public, before moving to Dublin for a display there.
The Silver Trust's Downing Street
Collection goes on view for the first time in
Northern Ireland at Hillsborough Castle. It is one
of 5 major exhibitions on the 'silver trail' as part
of August Craft Month 08.