o Antrim’s response to New York’s famous High Line has been officially unveiled.
The former Randallstown Railroad Viaduct, which spans the River Maine, has been converted into a public garden.
The project was led by the environmental group Tidy Randalstown, and the garden was designed by Johnny Knox.
Their vision was to create something that could be both a workplace and a world-class convenience for locals and visitors alike, like The High Line’s New York.
Officially opening the hanging garden – christened the hill – Antrim Mayor and Newtownabby Councilor Billy Webb said it would become “a destination that is an equal workplace and a world-class attraction for locals and guests”.
“Transferring what was already a landmark to a picturesque restoration space will undoubtedly increase tourism attendance to such a beautiful part Northern Irelandwhich in turn contributes to economic growth, ”he said.
The site will be serviced by a group of generations, where there are seats and places where people can gather together and hold master classes.
Helen Boyd, chair of a local volunteer group, said the attraction will be an important recreation space for people living in the area.
“With its fresh air and beautiful plants, as well as away from busy roads, everyone will want to meet here,” she said.
“It will be a much-needed place for Randallstown residents, whose well-being will benefit from the species, aromas and sounds that greet them in this public garden.
“Together with the local community, we have all worked together to create a garden of significant value that is a true reflection of the viaduct’s industrial past and takes its future to a whole new level.”
Mr Knox said working on the cherished local landmark was a “privilege”.
“The most interesting thing is that a bright garden in this setting has the potential to surpass and bring back to the community more than what a viaduct could in its original form,” he said.
“There are also elements that prefer the history and original function of the site. Using the brass arches formed in the large-scale contours of the old railway car, I hope to emulate something of the greatness associated with this era of transport. I look forward to it to be enjoyed by generations and to see it expand and grow over time ”.
Elevation Community Garden is now open to the public