Situated north west of Belfast City and bordering the north and east shores of Lough Neagh, the Borough of Antrim includes the towns of Antrim, Toomebridge, Crumlin, Randalstown, Parkgate and Templepatrick. Covering an area of 220 square miles – approximately 4.1% of the total area of Northern Ireland – the Borough stretches from Toome in the west to Clady in the east and from Tardree in the north to Crumlin in the south.
The Province’s economic engines of growth have long been associated with the Historic Borough of Antrim. Its industrial history is based around a large and prosperous textile and agricultural base, whilst today’s economic drivers revolve around construction, distribution, transport and hospitality. The area’s principal strength literally revolves around a superbly developed transport infrastructure that provides easy access to all the main external gateways for Northern Ireland, as well as easy access to all parts of the Province. Antrim town lies on two of the main transport corridors, the Belfast – Derry corridor and the Southern corridor. Belfast International Airport is located within the Borough, only 4 miles from the historic town of Antrim. The importance and benefit of the Borough’s central geographical location is emphasised by the strong interest shown by potential investors. Due to its location, businesses are able to access skilled labour from both inside and outside the Borough.
Originally a rural community, new industry, with associated expansion and development, has made the Borough much more urban with the town of Antrim now the main populated centre. The Borough has a strong and diverse industrial base, employment levels are among the best in the Province and the infrastructure already in place will complement economic development throughout the 21stcentury.
According to the 2001 Census the population of Antrim Borough was 48,366. Over half of the Borough’s population live in the town of Antrim. The Borough has a youthful face with one in three of the population (31.6%) within the 25-44 age group.
Antrim has a high proportion of its population economically active (68.04%) which is higher than the NI average. Both male and female economic activity is in line with the NI average. According to the D.E.T.I. research department there are 1,610 VAT registered enterprises with the Borough of Antrim.
The Borough of Antrim has a flexible and adaptable labour force with the skills to serve a variety of industries. Unemployment rates within Antrim are lower than NI average.
Unemployment Figures for the Borough of Antrim
The service sector continues to be a substantial benefactor of Antrim Borough’s economy, providing employment to the largest number of people (43.94%). In particular there is a high relative concentration in transport and communication (International Airport). The manufacturing base, which contributes towards 13.94%of employment, is evenly spread between small and large firms. Most importantly, there is a committed and highly skilled workforce on hand to help make your business prosper.
Antrim Borough has been successful in attracting a number of significant new inward investments to Northern Ireland. These companies have contributed considerably to the Antrim area, both in terms of employment and wealth generation.
The historic Borough retains much of its natural beauty and boasts a wealth of natural attractions.
Lough Neagh and its tributary rivers provide opportunities for water-sports, scenic walks and some of Northern Ireland’s best kept angling secrets. Antrim Castle Gardens and Clotworthy House, Pogue’s Entry, the Round Tower, Cranfield Holy Well and the Holestone, provide an array of cultural, heritage and historical experiences.
Recreational facilities include Antrim Forum Leisure Complex, Allen Park and three excellent 18-hole golf courses. Centrally located within Northern Ireland, the Borough of Antrim is within 15 minutes of Belfast City Centre, 20 minutes from Larne Harbour and within easy access to all the main scenic and tourist attractions throughout the Province.
The Borough is home to the International Airport, one of the busiest regional airports in Europe, and is also regarded as one of the strongest tourist accommodation destinations in Ireland.
There are over 700 hotel beds of which over 60% are in 4 star accommodation. An extensive selection of superb Guesthouses and Bed and Breakfast accommodation is also available, several of which have won industry awards. Antrim continues to perform well in the number of trips to the Borough, attracting in excess of 100,000 visitors annually who make use of the vast range of facilities and natural attractions in the Borough.