Survey and design works for Inis Cealtra Visitor Experience

Clare County Council and consultants have signed a contract for the design of the Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) Visitor Experience.

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The contract was signed in the Council Chamber at Áras Contae an Chláir, Ennis, where the Chief Executive of Clare County Council, Pat Dowling, met the appointed consultants (both in person and virtually).

Mr Dowling said: “The Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) Visitor Experience is a very exciting project for Clare County Council and will be a model for sustainable tourism. It is wonderful to see the calibre of consultants that have been appointed and the breadth of creativity and cutting-edge design and interpretation that the consultants will bring to this project.”

The consultants appointed are McCullough Mulvin Architects, Tandem Partners Ltd and Tobin Consulting Engineers.

Clare County Council is leading the project, along with a wide range of partners. The Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard, said: “This project will be a significant component in implementing the newly adopted Tourism Strategy for County Clare. I wish the consultants well in progressing this to planning stage.”

The Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) Visitor Experience project is being led by the Tourism Department of Clare County Council under the Rural Development Directorate.

Visit Clare Virtually/Cealtra for a selection of videos of Holy Island.

Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Clare County Council, said: “This project is one of collaboration with partners, including the Office of Public Works, National Monuments Service, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Waterways Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. There has been close engagement with Mountshannon Community Council and it is important that this project enhances and complements the village of Mountshannon and its surrounding area.”

Mr Cleary added: “The project seeks to conserve Inis Cealtra as well as provide a high-quality visitor attraction in Mountshannon that will raise the profile of the tourism offering in County Clare and complement existing tourism brands both in Clare and in neighbouring counties including Galway and Tipperary.”

Former Chair of Clare of Clare Tourism and representative for East Clare on the steering committee Eoin O’Hagan said: “This announcement of contract signing is very positive news for tourism in East Clare.

Since the purchase by Clare Co Co of Inis Cealtra/Holy Island several years ago the many interested parties both in Community groups and tourism have been anxiously waiting for progress on this project.”

This pristine Island with eons of history deserves sympathetic and careful management. The Round Tower, allegedly built by Brian Boru, will continue to dominate the landscape of Lough Derg and will rightfully signpost the tourist attraction thousands of years in the making,” Mr O’Hagan added.

The long-term objective of the project is:

(a) To conserve Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) as a significant historical, ecclesiastical, archaeological and cultural site; and

(b) To expand its attractiveness as a sustainable tourism destination and, in so doing, address population decline and rural deprivation by providing social and economic benefits derived from tourism for East Clare and the wider Mid-West region.

The contract involves the commissioning and delivery of preparatory works such as a Visitor Experience and Interpretation Plan, technical surveys/plans and sketch and detailed designs.  This will enable the project to move to a stage where planning consents are secured.

Cllr Pat Hayes, Chairperson of Killaloe Municipal District (MD), said: “This is an exciting milestone after more than two years of detailed preparatory work by the Tourism Department. The project has been brought to this stage by working in collaboration with staff in the Killaloe MD, all partners and the local community council. I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition for the benefit of the people of Mountshannon, East Clare and beyond.”

He continued: “The Department of Rural Development is to be complimented on making this project possible through its generous investment and funding under the Rural Regeneration Development Fund, with co-funding from Clare County Council. It is great to see the profile of East Clare being lifted with this proposed iconic tourism attraction.”

This short aerial video by of the ancient Round Tower and churches on Holy Island, Lough Derg, Co. Clare. Shot in freezing fog the video has a mysterious and timeless feel. Except for the camera movement, the island seems frozen in time.

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