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Hopes high for Ruan wellness centre

A GROUP of North Clare residents are hoping to develop a wellness centre on the edge of the Burren, which could employ between 12 and 18 people, it emerged recently. 
Fintan O’Brien, Kieran Casey and Brian O’Shaughnessy applied to Clare County Council to construct a wellness centre with a manager’s apartment or office, 15 ‘wellness’ tourist accommodation units, a storage shed, gazebo, waste water treatment, 32 parking spaces and associated works at Ranaghan, Ruan, four and a half miles from Corofin.
According to a document in the planning file signed by Michael Corey for architectural and environmental consultants Corey Stevens and Associates, Ennis the proposed development would be “a unique tourism product” with a wellness centre at its core. The wellness centre would specialise in magnetic or purification products with built-in temperature controls incorporated into the building fabric, furniture, water and air supplies of all the tourist accommodation.
“In a nutshell, it [the wellness rejuvenation rooms] is a complete magnetic field that you sleep in which heals the body and combined with the air and water system, it rejuvenates as a person sleeps,” a document from East Clare-based Clare Resorts attached to the planning file states.
The proposed development, the application says, will have a similar setting and tourist business model as other multi-unit complexes such as Dangan Lodge in Quin and East Clare Holiday Village, Coolreagh, Bodyke whereby it will be located in the countryside “with very little disruption to the surrounding area but with the economic benefits”.
“It is their [Clare Resorts] experience that international tourists are seeking the opportunity to stay in the Irish countryside (not in towns) and coupled with its location close to the Burren and the wellness centre ethos, it is considered that this product will be a success,” Mr Corey stated.
According to the application, it is intended that Clare Resorts will operate the development. The three applicants are local people and in partnership with Clare Resorts, “it is proposed to create employment in the area; one [an area] that has no tourist-related employment or tourist accommodation in existence. There are no tourist facilities servicing the eastern part of the Burren and it is considered that this small-scale development will bring an economic boost while not impacting on the unique landscape to the north and west.”
According to Clare Resorts, market research has shown that the development is required in Ranaghan and “once constructed will be the first of its kind in Europe”.
“This will generate tourism dollars into an area that needs it and will create local employment,” it adds.
A previous planning application to construct 14 new holiday home units, a wastewater treatment plant and polishing filter, a new entrance to the development and ancillary site works on the site was turned down back in 2005.
The new application states that the reason for choosing this site is that it is located in an area which “is not within a designated landscape but is adjacent to the Burren complex, where there are no tourist-related residential products or employment to the area. The proposed development will not be visually obtrusive to the Burren complex due to the topography of the site and its location. It is noted that the wellness centre requires a quiet country location”.
According to the application the project, if it were to go ahead, would employ 12 to 18 people including the management and staff to operate the development along with outside supporting contractors. It would also operate 24-hours a day for 365 days.
Clare County Council is due to make a decision on the application for the centre in September.

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