Tourism and community representatives are being invited to a public consultation event being held on Thursday (23rd March) in relation to the Draft Visitor Management and Sustainable Tourism Development Plan for Holy Island (Inis Cealtra) on Lough Derg.
Clare County Council will facilitate the event, the third such consultation to take place on the proposed plan, at Mountshannon Community Hall at 7.00pm.
In June 2015, Clare County Council acquired 41 acres on Holy Island which, together with the 2 acres already in the ownership of the Office of Public Works (OPW), resulted in the entire island being brought into public ownership for the first time.
Dublin-based Solearth Architecture was subsequently engaged by the Local Authority to prepare proposals in relation to improving access to the island and the provision of tourism facilities on or near the island, as well as proposals on the marketing and promoting of the Island as a visitor destination, while confirming its historical significance and protecting its built and natural heritage. A Draft Plan has now been produced and will be presented at next week’s public consultation event.
Brian McCarthy, Senior Planner, Clare County Council said: “The purpose of the upcoming event is to outline details of the Draft Plan, the purpose of which is to both maintain and protect the cultural heritage and natural assets of the island and also develop opportunities for local economic development.”
Dating back to the 7th century, the island is one of the most important historical and ecclesiastical sites in Ireland, and it has important links to Brian Ború. Buildings on the island include a 24-metre high Round Tower, an Oratory, and a number of churches. Holy Island is on the UNESCO world heritage site tentative list for Ireland as an early medieval monastic site along with Clonmacnoise, Durrow, Glendalough, Kells and Monasterboice.
The preparation of the Draft Visitor Management and Sustainable Tourism Development Plan for Holy Island has incorporated consultation with key stakeholders including the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Waterways Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, and local tourism, community and angling organisations. Clare County Council has also engaged with the OPW as joint landowners and the body responsible for the historic monuments on Holy Island during the Plan preparation process.
Written submissions are also invited from stakeholders on the Draft Plan from Friday 24th March to 21st April 2017 inclusive. Submissions should be made to the Planning Department, Clare County Council, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare, before the deadline of 4.00 p.m. on Friday, 21st April.
The Draft Plan will be available to view on www.clarecoco.ie, at the Killaloe Municipal District Office in Scarriff, Áras Contae an Chláir in Ennis, and at Killaloe, Tulla and Ennis libraries.