Countryside Alliance Awards Held In Titanic Centre

Northern Irish Rural Businesses Honoured at Countryside Alliance Ireland Awards

Countryside Alliance Ireland held its annual ‘Rural Oscars’ awards ceremony in The Titanic Centre in Belfast where several Northern Irish rural businesses were crowned champions.

The Countryside Alliance Awards – now in their 17th year – recognise rural businesses across five categories, including ‘best local food’, ‘best butcher’, ‘best pub’, ‘best rural enterprise’, and ‘best village shop/ post office’.

These rural businesses go the extra mile within their communities, supporting the local economy and championing local goods and services.

Thousands of nominations from around the country were whittled down via a public vote, with the final few being honoured at the Northern Irish finalists’ awards dinner and ceremony on Monday 25 March at The Titanic exhibition centre in Belfast.

Horner’s Farm Shop, Comber, County Down, won the Best local Shop category. Pictured are the Horner family, Alison, Garth, Robert, Cara and Erin with Gary McCartney, Director of Countryside Alliance Ireland, third left. (Photo by Jim Masson/Down News).

The awards were presented by former TV news anchor Lynda Bryans and attended by a number of MLAs and local councillors.

The winner of each category will go on to represent Northern Ireland in the national champions reception at the House of Lords in June, competing against other finalists from Wales, Scotland, and England.

The winners of the 2024 Countryside Alliance Ireland Awards were as follows:

Local Food: Horner’s Farm Shop, Comber, County Down

Rural Enterprise: Colemans Garden Centre, County Antrim

Village Shop and Post Office: Canning’s Spar, Derry

Butcher: Nesbitt Quality Meats, County Antrim

Pub: Head O’The Road, County Armagh

The following businesses received highly commended awards:

Local Food: Broughgammon Farm, County Antrim

Rural Enterprise: Craig View Luxury Glamping, County Tyrone

Village Shop and Post Office: Rathlin Village Shop, County Antrim

Butcher: Muldrews Butchers, County Armagh

Pub: The Highway Inn Bar and Kitchen, Lisburn

Gary McCartney, Director of the Countryside Alliance Ireland, said: “Running a business in a rural community isn’t easy, particularly in recent times.

“The evening was all about celebrating the valued role these rural enterprises have in their communities.

“Their continuing promotion and defence of Northern Irish produce, skills and rural life deserves all the credit it gets.

“We at Countryside Alliance Ireland are proud to be honouring a group of people who are passionate about their countryside and passionate about providing quality goods, services and employment to rural communities and beyond”.