Funding of €1.15m and €600,000 respectively has been allocated for the Dun Aengus, Inis Mor and the Ceide Fields.
The funding is part of a substantial investment of over €3 million by Failte Ireland and €1.3 million by the OPW in four key OPW heritage and tourism sites on the Wild Atlantic Way – Dun Aengus, the Blasket Island Visitor Centre in Kerry, the Ceide Fields in Mayo and Carrowmore in Sligo.
I am delighted with the investment of €1.15m in the Ceide Fields for a new exhibition and interpretation space to replace the existing Visitor Centre and with the €450,000 by Failte Ireland and €150,000 by the OPW for a major upgrade of the Visitor Centre at Dun Aengus and the introduction of interpretative information at other key OPW-managed sites on Inis Mór, such as Dun Duchathair.
As Minister with responsibility for the Atlantic Economic Corridor I know the importance of both tourism and the preservation of our heritage sites to communities from Kerry to Galway to Mayo to Donegal.
My colleague, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD is also acutely aware of the importance of developing and support the assets in the West with key investment in tourism which boosts local communities right along the Western Seaboard.
By co-ordinating investment and the efforts of State agencies, Minister Griffin and Minister of State for the OPW, Kevin Boxer Moran are making ensure that the potential of every euro invested is realised.
The prehistoric stone fort of Dun Aengus is one of Ireland’s most recognised landmarks and is one of the OPW’s most visited sites with 132,233 visitors in 2016. The Ceide Fields, the oldest field systems in the world, will be enhanced with a new exhibition and interpretation space to showcase archaeological material. The OPW-managed site attracted 33,178 visitors in 2016.
With the significant challenge of Brexit ever present, investment in and conservation of our heritage sites is as important as ever so that we can enhance and maintain the visitor experience for tourists and local alike.