The sun shines for historic Royal visit

By Julie Magee

Reporter:

By Julie Magee

Email:

julie.magee@thechronicle.uk.com

HRH The Princess Royal's historic visit to Coleraine Library last Thursday was a relaxed, low-key affair in her usual no-nonsense style.

Just hours after flying into Northern Ireland, and stopping off in Londonderry and Ballykelly, the Royal visitor arrived at the renovated Queen Street library dressed in a striking purple coat, brightly patterned scarf, boots and leather gloves.

The sun shone as she was greeted by Libraries NI Chief Executive Jim O'Hagan and Libraries NI Board Chairperson Professor Bernard Cullen.

The Princess Royal was taken on a tour of the new facilities including a new three storey fully accessible extension, a multi-use meeting room, improved study areas, exhibition space and a dedicated Heritage Room with microfilm readers.

After an extensive £2.3million renovation project, funded by the Department for Communities, the new look Coleraine Library reopened to the public on December 20 after refurbishment work lasting almost two years.

The renovation of the circular building, built to a classic late 1960s design, included improved access through a new entrance lobby and the installation of a passenger lift to all floors.

Described as “one of the most interesting libraries in Northern Ireland,” Coleraine Library closed in March 2017 when its leaking windows and roof, deteriorating walls and antique heating system rendered it no longer fit for purpose.

The refurbishment was undertaken with advice from planning and conservation experts to ensure the architectural heritage of the listed building was preserved.

*For full action and reaction, see this week's Chronicle.

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