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Major East Clare tourism project takes step forward

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AN AMBITIOUS plan to create the Inis Cealtra Visitor Experience has been given the green light, following a Part 8 planning application by Clare County Council.
The signing-off on plans to redevelop The Old Rectory in Mountshannon was described at the May meeting of the authority as “a major step forward for tourism in East Clare”. Councillor Pat Burke said he was delighted to proposed the adoption of the Part 8 plan after a successful public consultation period.
“There are exciting times ahead now for the area,” he said.
“We recently had RTÉ’s Nationwide and Channel 5 putting a spotlight on Inis Cealtra and had a workshops with consultants appointed to the Holy Island project.
“My compliments to all involved from the Tourism section of the council for the ongoing work and for advancing the Holy Island plans. This is another major step forward for tourism in East Clare and we’re getting there slowly but surely.”
The motion was seconded by Councillor Pat Hayes, Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe Municipal District.
“This is a very important day for East Clare,” he said. “We were in the back line for a long time, but we’re moving forward now.
“I would like to note that there is wonderful support for the Inis Cealtra project from Mountshannon Community Council and the Tourism section of Clare County Council.
“It is so important that everyone works together as a team on this and we’re now looking forward to securing financial support to progress things.”
Chief Executive of Clare County Council Pat Dowling thanked members for their support for the planning application.
“This allows the next critical step on the way to developing the visitor experience and that is to seek funding under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF),” he said. “That will enable us to start the next chapter.”
Meanwhile, consultants working on the interpretative design of the centre have moved to clarify that one of the historical figures chosen as part of their cast of characters for the narrative plan is not the wife of Brian Ború.
Following contact from author and historian Gerard Madden, Tandem Partners have moved to update material used during a community workshop last month.
“We completely acknowledge the Gormlaith, Queen of Munster, outlined in the Interpretation Strategy is not the Gormlaith, Queen of Munster who was married to Brian Boru,” Tandem Partners said.
“This is an error on our part. We look forward to researching into this Queen during the next stage of the project.”
The noted consultants who have worked on major projects including the Séamus Heany Homeplace in Bellaghy, County Derry, said they are still at the “concept stage” of their work. “All ‘characters’ that will ultimately be used for the interpretation are still under development so are subject to change as further research and sources are explored in consultation with academic experts and local experts.”
Tandem Partners are to meet with local experts including Mr Madden and are expected to return to Clare in the summer months for further consultations.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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