On Friday, I visited the Galway City Museum to announce investment of €6.64 million in the development of a new state-of-the-art museum in Galway City, which will be known as the Atlantic Museum Galway.
This is Fáilte Ireland’s largest investment in a visitor attraction to date. Certainly, it is a clear demonstration of the Government’s commitment to developing Galway’s tourism offering – and hugely significant news for Galway, the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland.
Galway City Council’s crucial involvement will, with its financial contribution, bring the overall project investment to €10.2 million.
I am very excited by the new proposal. Galway City Museum will be redeveloped and rebranded as the Atlantic Museum Galway. The new and enhanced features will include:
- The creation of a new three-storey interactive museum at Comerford House – the building adjacent to us;
- Access from there to a new viewing point at the top of the Spanish Arch, to allow visitors to take in the spectacular vista of Galway Bay, the Claddagh and the River Corrib; and
- Remodelling of the square between the existing museum and the Spanish Arch into a new public space, bringing all elements of the attraction together.
The new museum will highlight the influence the Atlantic has had on the people, cultures and traditions of what was once known as the ‘Merchant City’.
Visitors will have the opportunity – through cutting-edge technology – to immerse themselves in the history of the merchant tribes, Claddagh Basin and Spanish Armada. Fáilte Ireland investment in projects like this is critical in enhancing tourism experiences through the addition of state-of-the art interpretation and infrastructure. This in turn will motivate overseas visitors to visit Ireland, driving greater tourism growth and employment to local areas.
Furthermore, the development of the Atlantic Museum Galway is a partnership between Fáilte Ireland and Galway City Council. Such collaborations are essential in developing tourism attractions that will stand out in the international marketplace, and building up Local Authority experience of overseeing major tourism capital projects.
In terms of the tourism and economic return on investment, I believe the enhanced attraction is expected to generate €29.3 million in direct expenditure for the local area over the first five years alone. It will clearly have a transformative effect on tourism activity within the Spanish Arch District of the City and indeed Galway City as a whole.
The Atlantic Museum Galway will be a major tourism asset along the Wild Atlantic Way, with Galway City already a key part of the Bay Coast section of the overall coastal route. Not only will visitors be able to witness the natural beauty of Galway Bay, the Claddagh and River Corrib from the top of the Spanish Arch; they will also experience the history and heritage of Galway City and its many merchants and citizens.
The new Atlantic Museum is a perfect fit for the Wild Atlantic Way tourism experience brand, which commands strong international recognition and very positive feedback from travellers to the west of Ireland. The museum will benefit hugely from the brand’s marketing and name recognition.
Tourism has experienced major growth in recent years and having world-class attractions has been crucial for attracting visitors from around the globe to Ireland, in line with national tourism policy objectives.
I know that Fáilte Ireland will continue to develop and enhance tourism experiences within the framework of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 strategy, funded under the National Development Plan (NDP), which prioritises investment in tourist attractions and experiences of the type and quality that visitors are seeking.
It is through initiatives like this and investment in visitor attractions such as the Atlantic Museum Galway that we can truly leverage the global growth in tourism and ensure that Ireland – and every region – gets its share of the benefits that tourism brings, both socially and economically.
The Atlantic Museum Galway will be a major new tourism attraction for Galway, the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland. Projects like these, and many others across the country, are critical not only for regional growth but for reinforcing Ireland’s reputation as a top-class visitor destination.
I would like to wish the project promoters every success in developing the Atlantic Museum Galway and look forward to its opening to the public.