A NEW app, brochure and DVD showcasing over 100 heritage sites in the Lough Derg area will be officially launched at a free conference next week.
An interesting line-up of speakers has been secured for the Lough Derg on the Shannon seminar at the Lakeside Hotel, Ballina, Killaloe on Tuesday, May 28.
Adopting the theme, Realising Our Potential, this event starts with registration at 9.30am and ends at 4pm.
Clare, Galway and North Tipperary County Councils have united to try and create a new sense of place about Lough Derg’s rich heritage by looking at the lake in its entirety, rather than focusing on sites in individual counties.
An audit conducted by the authorities found there are 250 “hidden” heritage sites scattered around the banks of the lake, of which over 100 are accessible and could be included in a heritage trail.
These include East Clare Heritage Centre, Tuamgraney; Ballycuggeran Forest Recreation Area, Killaloe; Brian Boru Fort, Killaloe; Tobermurragh Well, Killaloe; St Flannan’s Catholic Church and the Clarke windows; Templekelly Church and graveyard, Washerwoman’s Bridge, Ballina; Graves of the Leinstermen, Portroe; Woodford Heritage Centre and Portumna Castle.
With the help of the Irish Heritage Council, the three heritage officers, Congella Maguire (Clare), Marie Mannion (Galway) and Marian Carey (North Tipperary) have produced a new trail on the lake’s built heritage.
Ms Maguire is encouraged by the interest the conference has already generated with good bookings and believes it will provide an ideal platform for future similar events. Funding is also in place to research and publish a book on the delights of Lough Derg.
“We still have some work to do to achieve a proper brand for Lough Derg. The lake still hasn’t reached its huge potential from a heritage point of view.
“We still have a lot of work to do around developing and promoting the natural heritage, which is a work in progress,” she explained.
Mid-West Regional authority director Liam Conneally will give an address on the work of the Lough Derg Marketing Strategy Group.
Ruairi Deane, Shannon Development tourism senior executive, will speak about Ireland’s Lakelands and Inland Waterways: the international tourism perspective.
Dr Rob Collins, head of policy at The Rivers Trust (RT), the umbrella body for the rivers’ trust movement in England and Wales, will provide an overview of integrated catchment management plans, based on his own experience in these countries.
The experience of developing other lakes in Europe will be examined by former Shannon Development planning and research officer, Brian Callanan who is now a freelance planner supporting the Mid-West Regional Authority in the EU Interreg TRAP project.
Other relevant topics will be addressed by Beatrice Kelly from the Irish Heritage Council, Dr Caro-Lynne Ferri, the executive director of Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland and Dr Paula Treacy, the senior environment officer for Waterways Ireland.