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€1.8m in Funding for ‘Ireland’s Ancient East

Ministers Donohoe & Ring Announce Initial €1.8m in Funding for ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’

Announcement of first phase of Fáilte Ireland capital investment for 
key attractions as well as funding for initial signage

The Minister for Tourism, Transport and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, along with Minister of State for Tourism, Michael Ring TD, today announced €1.2m in funding for capital projects in Ireland’s Ancient East along with an additional €600k for the first stage of branded signage for all counties within the region.

The €1.2m Capital funding is the first phase of investment through Fáilte Ireland’s ‘New ideas in Ancient Spaces’ Capital Grants Scheme and is for an initial 12 projects within the Ireland’s Ancient East initiative. It is expected that projects in every county within Ireland’s Ancient East will be supported through the scheme over the coming months.

This first phase of funding under the ‘New ideas in Ancient Spaces’ Capital Grants Scheme follows a Fáilte Ireland call for applications from interested parties across the region. Fáilte Ireland is currently assessing a number of further applications from that call and will be announcing another round of funding before the end of the year.

Launched last April, Ireland’s Ancient East is Fáilte Ireland’s latest tourism initiative and seeks to build on the wealth of historical and cultural assets in the east and south of Ireland. The new initiative seeks to give visitors a personal experience of 5000 years of Irish history through a journey of discovery stretching from Carlingford to Cork and is intended to match and complement the Wild Atlantic Way in terms of scale and ambition.

Commenting on the first phase of capital funding for the initiative, Minister Donohoe today said:

“This funding is just the first phase in a programme to animate the great amount of history and heritage in ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ and allow us to build on the tourism assets we have in the east and south of the country. With tourism businesses already mobilising behind the new initiative, I believe that Ireland’s Ancient East will prove as effective and popular as the Wild Atlantic Way and will ultimately deliver significant additional numbers of visitors, revenue and jobs to the region”.

Minister of State for Tourism, Michael Ring TD, said:

“Ensuring that we continue to position Ireland in a way that allows us to compete with other countries and attract overseas visitors is crucial. So far this year we have seen more tourists coming to Ireland than ever before, helping to create jobs and support the economy. We must make sure that continues. Tourism offerings such as the Wild Atlantic Way in the west of Ireland have really sparked the public imagination. I have no doubt that Ireland’s Ancient East, with the potential to deliver an additional 600,000 overseas visitors to the region and increase visitor revenue by almost 25% by 2020, will do the same”.

The capital funding announced in today’s first phase of the ‘New ideas in Ancient Spaces’ Capital Grants Scheme is being awarded to:

ï‚· Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park Ltd - enhanced visitor experience, County Kildare (€29k);

ï‚· Titanic Connections, Cork (€50k);

ï‚· Uisneach Interpretative Centre, County Westmeath (€65k);

ï‚· Tholsel Visitor Centre, Fethard, County Tipperary (€198k);

ï‚· Redevelopment of Powerscourt Visitor Interpretation Experience, County Wicklow (€80k);

ï‚· Athlone Castle — Enhancing the Visitor Experience, County Westmeath (€76k);

ï‚· Hook Lighthouse Guided Tour Experience, County Wexford (€80k);

ï‚· Journeys of Exploration, Anglo Irish Heritage at Blackrock Castle, Cork (€160k);

ï‚· Dunleckney Maltings, Carlow (€200k);

ï‚· Birr’s Anglo Irish & Early Christian Heritage, County Offaly (€84k);

ï‚· Boyne Valley: Waterway through Time, Trim, County Meath (€86k);

ï‚· Ancient Stones, Untold Stories — St Canice’s Cathedral & Round Tower Interpretation Project, Kilkenny (€80k).

(For more on each project, see notes for editor below).

Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn today emphasised:

“Fáilte Ireland is working directly with businesses and communities on the ground to bring this new experience brand alive. During the assessment phase for this capital funding, we were incredibly impressed by the enthusiasm and high quality of ideas within the proposals that we received. Today’s funding is just the first phase in capital supports to improve and augment the great variety of attractions already in the region and we will be in a position to announce further grants in the near future.

“As an initiative firmly rooted in our past and our stories, it is vital that we bring these stories alive to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by Ireland’s Ancient East. Today’s funding will help us towards that goal and, by the year’s end, we will have helped to prime projects in every county within Ireland’s ancient East.”

Mr Quinn pointed out that Ireland’s Ancient East was an evolving initiative with much work to do. Fáilte Ireland is working with businesses and communities in the region to bring the proposition to life and to animate the stories of their locality. Mr Quinn added that, as part of the work to create a unified ‘look’ for the new initiative, €600k was now being allocated for the first phase of a signage and interpretation programme to bring all the diverse elements of Ireland’s Ancient East under the new experience brand.

Mr Quinn added that Fáilte Ireland was also working with tourism businesses to help them actively sell the new proposition to potential customers and tourism trade overseas. Indeed, this week, Minister Donohoe is with Tourism Ireland promoting the new proposition to overseas buyers in North America — with the aid of a new Fáilte Ireland produced promotional film which you can VIEW HERE.

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For further information please contact:

Alex Connolly — Head of Communications

086 7966320/01 8847884