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  1. ITV Report

Giant's Causeway souvenir shop to close after decades

The National Trust is shutting the door on a family business that has been serving visitors to the Giant's Causeway for decades.

The Trust will not renew the lease for McConaghy's souvenir shop, and instead it intends to develop the site.

Tommy McConaghy's family connection to the Giant's Causeway goes back generations - his grandfather was selling souvenirs on the famous stones back in 1912.

“He used to take the money from the people going through the gates down at the stones, before the First World War,” he explained.

The McConaghys tried to fight the move, but to no avail. Credit: UTV

“My mother was running a shop, she was running a cafe and souvenirs and my mother, when she was a 14-year-old she did the wishing well and she used to give you three glasses of water and told you have a wish, and one of those would come true.”

The little shop is just yards from the £18m Causeway Visitor Centre.

But the McConaghy's lease has run out, and the National Trust - which owns the Giant's Causeway - will not extend it.

Tommy McConaghy continued: “We have to be out of here by 31 January and I think the compensation we’ll be getting is just slightly over £1,000.

“Just feel rotten.”

The McConaghys tried to fight the move, but to no avail. The National Trust, meanwhile, has acknowledged the contribution the family's made at the site.

It said its decision to develop the site was made with good intent.

The National Trust said it wants the site in order to provide more facilities for growing numbers of tourists - and specifically intends to turn McConaghy’s into toilets.