The Northern Island Tourism Board is to provide £9 million to support the building of a new visitors’ centre at Giant’s Causeway.
The previous centre at the causeway – the most popular attraction in Northern Ireland - was destroyed by fire in 2000, with temporary facilities in place since.
The grant will meet half of the estimated cost of the new visitors centre, with the Heritage Lottery Fund already National Trust also investing £3 million and £4 million respectively.
Authorities will seek the remaining £2 million from public donations, with £250,000 raised to date.
With planning permission granted earlier this year the visitors’ centre is due to be open in 2012, and was designed by Dublin architects Heneghan Peng.
The new centre will be hidden from the coastal landscape by a grass roof, and will include environmental features such as water-permeable paving, natural lighting and rainwater harvesting.
The National Trust’s Director for Northern Ireland, Hilary McGrady, said: “I am delighted that the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment have continued to support this massive project and reflect their confidence in our ability to deliver.”
The Giant’s Causeway consists of 38,000 columns of basalt and is visited by an estimated 600,000 guests each year.