A comprehensive report on the proposed marketing of the Loop Head and Kilkee Heritage Trail on the Wild Atlantic Way, has identified 18 heritage sites in the peninsula area.
The report on the pilot project, a collaboration between Clare County Council Heritage Officer, Congella Maguire, the Heritage Council, Fáilte Ireland and Loop Head Tourism, will be launched later this month.
The project was community-based with the aim to develop a local heritage trail along this 60km section of the 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way. A total of 18 heritage trail sites were deemed to be worthy of inclusion in the final list, which includes the four Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Points.
One of the key recommendations in the report is that consideration be given to locating information on Carrigaholt Castle in the village which is within sight and walking distance of the historic building.
“Due to the prominence of Carrigaholt Castle in the local landscape it is recommended that dialogue be initiated as soon as possible between all stakeholders, tenants and landowners regarding possible future public access and improvements to the site,” the report said.
“This pilot project also made recommendations and formulated a model for working with the local community to help to make it a more efficient, streamlined and cost effective to replicate the same project for local communities along the entire Wild Atlantic Way,” the executive summary read.
Contact was also made with complimentary concurrent local projects in the peninsula to ensure that information was shared and work was not duplicated. These projects are a Heritage Council-funded Loop Head Heritage Audit, which Trea Heapes and Frances Bermingham are carrying out and a Fбilte Ireland funded Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point Interpretation Project undertaken by The Paul Hogarth Company.
“The overall aim of the project was to produce design ready interpretation content for 12 sites on a proposed Wild Atlantic Way Loop Head Heritage Trail and then store this content on a database. This interpretation content including text, photographs, audio interviews, maps and other information could then be easily used with existing products or to develop further tourism products such as smart phone Apps, websites, interpretation boards, print maps, podcasts and social media material,” the report read.
Amongst the recommendations was to hold a structured schedule of community consultation meetings.
“The community consultation methodology used in this project firmly places the local community of Loop Head and Kilkee as the primary source of all heritage interpretation with up to 80% of all site interpretation material originating from interviews with local people.The community consultation and interviews add significant value to the project by revealing local stories and unique information,” the report read.
The report project was awarded to ActiveME Heritage Services earlier this year following a public tendering process.