2008 Product News - November-December 2008   VOLUME 12 ISSUE 5  


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Development Grants for 35 Historic Town Projects

Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen TD, recently announced that funding of up to €2,174,990 has been allocated under Fáilte Ireland's Historic Towns Initiative, for the further development of historic walking trails in 35 towns around the country.

The Historic Towns Initiative introduced by Fáilte Ireland is aimed at the development of a series of historic walking trails in up to 100 towns around the country. The funding for 35 towns, is being made available to assist local authorities to provide a
range of tourist signage, including orientation, interpretive and information boards, along a designated historic trail (or trails) which guides the visitor around the town. The aim is to maximise the tourism potential of the Historic Towns and enhance the visitor’s overall experience.

These grants under the Historic Towns Initiative, will assist the development of tourism by focusing visitors' attention on the historic significance of these towns. In addition, by maintaining a similar style and format, the information boards and signage will become a clear and comprehensive source of guidance for tourists who seek out information on Ireland's historic towns when they come to visit. The successful projects announced were approved by the Fáilte Ireland Authority.

The Historic Towns Initiative forms part of the Tourism Product Development and Infrastructure sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007-13. The initiative is also a component of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund, which supports local authorities and other infrastructure providers to develop facilities for tourists, such as walking and cycling routes, jetties and moorings, angling stands and access paths to areas of environmental and scenic interest.

Details of Historic Town Projects for which Grants have been approved are as follows:

Full Project Name                   Grant

Youghal Historic Town Trail  - €35,320

Killarney Historic Town Trail  - €32,490

Naas Historic Town Trail  - €114,930

Birr Historic Town Trail - €12,690

Dundalk Historic Town Trail  - €67,070

Ballina Historic Town Trail (Mayo)  - €71,190

Carrickmacross Historic Town Trail  - €36,070

Tipperary Town Historic Town Trail  - €74,400

Wexford Historic Town Trail - €70,460

Ennis Historic Town Trail - €112,760

Kilkenny Historic Town Trail - €150,430

Loughrea Historic Town Trail  - €123,040

Drogheda Historic Town Trail  - €82,040

Trim Historic Town Trail  - €11,940

Wicklow Historic Town Trail  - €26,770

Belturbet Historic Town Trail - €46,320

Cootehill Historic Town Trail - €29,560

Kilrush Historic Town Trail - €27,080

Cobh Historic Town Trail - €55,640

Bantry Historic Town Trail  - €38,880

Kinsale Historic Town Trail - €92,270

Ballyshannon Historic Town Trail - €48,950

Westport Historic Town Trail - €39,680

Enniscorthy Historic Town Trail - €37,390

Athlone Historic Town Trail - €64,260

Lismore Historic Town Trail  - €53,950

Cashel Historic Town Trail - €52,270

Carrick-on-Suir Historic Town Trail - €25,600

Sligo Historic Town Trail - €201,880

Listowel Historic Town Trail - €36,480

Athy Historic Town Trail - €56,350

Tuam Historic Town Trail - €14,300

New Ross Historic Town Trail -  €50,070

Boyle Historic Town Trail -  €91,740

Clonakilty Historic Town Trail - €90,720

Total Grants Approved   €2,174,990


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Rothe House and Garden, Parliament Street, Kilkenny

Earlier this year, the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, performed the official opening ceremony of the Rothe Family Garden in the heart of Kilkenny city. This garden is a reconstruction of the early 17th century Irish merchant’s urban garden which had been laid out and planted by John Rothe, builder of the House which bears his name. The project was carried out by Rothe House Trust Limited, on behalf of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society who own the property.

Rothe House itself was built between 1594 and 1610, by a wealthy merchant of Kilkenny, John Rothe Fitzpiers. It was his family home and place of business, as he was an importer of fine cloths and silks from England and the Continent. He lived here with his wife, Rose Archer and their twelve children.

The house and garden are privately owned by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society and are open to the public throughout the year. The House is home to the Society’s vast collection of artefacts relating to life in Kilkenny, as well as its Library which contains a full collection of local newspapers (since 1784), maps, family archives and books of local and national historic interest. There is a policy of rotating exhibitions, to display the artefacts.

While there was little documentary evidence regarding the design of the garden, the archaeological dig which was carried out in early 2007, served to confirm details such as the size of the vegetable planting beds and the location of the ornamental trees. Artefacts found provided a fascinating insight into the life of the Rothe family in the mid 17th century. The skeleton of a small terrier dog was found and samples of expensive Italian cut glassware.

The original garden was laid out at a time when the exciting new designs from Renaissance Europe were making their way to Ireland and the design is a mix of the old medieval, practical garden and the new Renaissance pleasure garden. There are two areas: the vegetable and herbal beds to the east nearest the house and the large orchard to the west beside the City Wall. These are divided by a cross wall, giving the feeling of two enclosed gardens within one.

The planting in the garden is authentic. The objective was to only use early varieties of plants -that is plants which would have been grown at the time that the Rothe Family lived in the house. Examples of the fruit trees include: Blood of the Boyne, Scarlett Crofton and Brown Crofton.

The vegetables include radishes, lettuce, parsnip, carrot and turnip. Herbs such as Lady’s Bedstraw, which was used by women to dye their hair blonde, are planted in the lower garden.

In September of this year, the Rothe Family Garden was awarded both the Regional and National Landscape Awards in the Tidy Towns Competition 2008. This award, sponsored by the Tree Council of Ireland, is a special competition to recognise the role of appropriate landscaping in Irish towns, villages, and urban areas, and its potential aesthetic and practical benefits to the local community. It was a great boost for those who have worked on the Project over the last number of years and is the first national recognition the garden has received.

The reconstruction of the garden was funded by Fáilte Ireland, under the NDP 2000-2006, Kilkenny Borough Council and Kilkenny Civic Trust.
A genealogical service is also available at the House, or online at www.kilkenny.brsgenealogy.com .

For more details about Rothe House & Garden, contact Roisin McQuillan, Manager, Email: roisin@rothehouse.com , Tel: (056) 772 2893, Website: www.rothehouse.com  

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Iconic Tower at Cliffs of Moher Undergoes Restoration

O’Brien’s Tower, the iconic landmark that stands on a headland at the mighty Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, is currently undergoing restoration.

Millions of people from around the globe have visited the tower since local landlord Cornelius O’Brien constructed it in 1835. He was a descendant of Brian Boru and he built the tower as an observation point for the hundreds of visitors who even then, visited the cliffs. He was a man before his time and he believed the development of tourism would boost the local economy and bring people out of poverty. His remains lie in the O’Brien vault in the graveyard adjoining St. Brigid’s Well (approx. one mile from the visitor centre).

The viewing platform is located near the highest point of the 214 metre high cliffs and provides views of Clare, the Kerry Mountains, Galway Bay and the Aran Islands.
Ireland’s biggest wave ‘Aill Na Searrach’, which reaches heights of 60ft several times a year, is also visible from the tower.

O’Brien’s Tower has been closed to the public since construction began on the EUR31.5M Cliffs of Moher visitor centre. The tower will reopen for the 2009 visitor season.

The restoration works include re-pointing, dry-lining, and structural repairs as well as replacement of the interior staircases and fittings.

The restored landmark will encourage more people to visit the Cliffs of Moher and the experience of viewing the Cliffs and the Atlantic Ocean from the tower will greatly enhance their visit.

O’Brien’s Tower is a vital part of the heritage of County Clare and this restoration work will ensure the conservation of this protected structure which forms part of the draw for visitors from all over the world to the Cliffs of Moher.

The Cliffs of Moher is Ireland’s most visited attraction. It officially opened in February 2007 and had almost one million visitors from all over the world by the year end.

Further information:
Katherine Webster, Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience: Tel: (065) 708 6141 / (085) 130 3579, www.cliffsofmoher.ie  

Arizona Couple Donate US $50,000 to First Aid Facility at Cliffs of Moher

An American couple whose newborn son Nicolas passed away at the Cliffs of Moher in July 2006, have donated 50,000 U.S. Dollars towards the provision and equipping of a medical facility at the world famous tourist attraction.

Delia and Kelly Stokes from Phoenix, Arizona, recently presented a cheque to Katherine Webster, Director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience.

142 first aid incidents have been dealt with at “Nicolas’ Room”, a secure access controlled facility, since the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre was opened in February 2007.

The majority of cases have involved relatively minor injuries caused by falls or slips - such as bruises, graze, cuts and sprains. Meanwhile, over 1,200 people have used the room’s manually operated wheelchair service.

23 staff at the tourist site, which attracts approximately one million visitors each year, have been trained in occupational first aid with 11 of these having received further Intermediate level training. One member of staff is trained to First Responder level, equivalent to the training received by paramedic staff.

The presentation of the US $50,000 cheque took place during a ceremony in Phoenix marking the 20th anniversary of a successful twinning arrangement between Ennis in County Clare and the Arizona State Capital.

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Heritage Island Looks Towards 2009 with New Members

Heritage Island, Ireland’s leading visitor attraction marketing group will promote 98 visitor attractions and Heritage Towns for the 2009 season. The company now represents 77 centres in the Republic and 21 in Northern Ireland.

17 new members have joined Heritage Island for 2009 including the National Museum Of Ireland, Decorative Arts & History, Archaeology, Natural History, Co. Dublin and National Museum of Ireland Country Life, Co. Mayo, Beaulieu House, Gardens and Car Museum, Co. Louth, Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park, Co. Kildare, Caherconnell Stone Fort, Co. Clare, Roscrea Heritage Town, Co. Tipperary, Bantry House, Co. Cork, Riverwatch Aquarium and Visitor Centre, Co. Down , Foxford Woollen Mills and Westport House & Country Park, Co. Mayo, Mid-Antrim Museums, The Braid, Carrickfergus Museum, Larne Museum and Sentry Hill and Bagenal’s Castle, Co. Down.

Heritage Island is delighted to welcome the new members into the group. Each attraction brings with it a unique quality to further entice visitors to Ireland. Visit the ancestral home of the Earls of Bantry at Bantry House, Co Cork, step back in time at Caherconnell Stone Fort, Co Clare, or stroll around the numerous engaging galleries at the National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts & History, Dublin. Museums, Heritage Towns, Abbeys, Historic Houses and so much more are waiting to be discovered, find out what you can discover with Heritage Island. Sign up for their newsletter on www.heritageisland.com  

Heritage Island will launch its key publications for 2009 which include its Group Organisers and Tour Operators Manual, Education Tours Directory, and Essential Touring Guide, aimed at the overseas travel trade, education sector and independent visitor to Ireland respectively. For more information visit www.heritageisland.com.

Helen Cole, Marketing Manager
Heritage Island, Marina House, 11-13 Clarence Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
Tel: +353 1 236 6890
Fax: +353 1 236 6895
Email: info@heritageisland.com  
Web: www.heritageisland.com

Image:  Beaulieu House, Gardens and Car Museum, Co Louth.

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Newly Refurbished RHA Gallagher Galleries Re-Open

The Royal Hibernian Academy has been closed for some time and re-opens this month following an extensive refurbishment which includes the addition of new artists’ studios, a café and bookshop and a new ground-floor gallery.

Royal Hibernian Academy - The 178th RHA Annual Exhibition

11 November – 13 December 2008.
This year’s 178th RHA Annual exhibition is extra special, as it will be the first exhibition in the newly refurbished RHA Gallagher Galleries. It will also be the first time in living memory, that their traditional summer show takes place during the winter! This month there will be several exciting events including:

RHA Gala Dinner: Friday, 7 November.
Varnishing Day: 2.00 p.m.– 5.00 p.m., Sunday, 9 November.
Opening Night Reception: 6.00 p.m. – 8.00 p.m., Monday, 10 November.

The exhibition will show recent work by Academicians, invited artists and emerging artists in the disciplines of painting, print, photography, sculpture, drawing and architecture. The majority of the work is for sale and is an excellent opportunity for discerning collectors.

Invited artists for the 2008 RHA Annual include Sahoko Blake, Dorothy Cross, Felim Egan, Nuala Goodman, Paul McKinley, Hughie O’Donoghue, John Shinnors and Rose Stapleton. Academicians include newly elected Members Colin Martin ARHA and Eilis O’Connell RHA as well as artists such as Carey Clarke PPRHA, Veronica Bolay RHA, Maeve McCarthy RHA, Thomas Ryan PPRHA, Neil Shawcross RHA, Amelia Stein RHA and Donald Teskey RHA.

There are to date, 21 Artists’ Prizes for this year’s Annual Exhibition with a prize fund of over Euros 70,000. Awards include the Curtin/O’Donoghue Photography Prize increased this year to €7,500 euro and a new photographic prize – the Royal Bank of Scotland / Irish Arts Review Photographic Portrait Prize worth €6,000 as well as the Hennessey Craig Scholarship of €10,000 and the RHA Sculpture Award of €10,000.

Admission is free and there is a full colour exhibition catalogue.

The RHA will be open seven days a week.

Monday – Saturday, 11.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m.
Sunday, 2.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.

For more information please contact RHA Marketing at Tel: (01) 661 2558, Ext 111, or email info@rhagallery.ie  For tickets to the RHA Gala please contact RHA Development Officer, Rebecca Gale, at (01) 661 2558, Ext. 115.

Contact: Elaine Fallon
RHA Marketing Officer, Tel: (01) 661 2558, ext 111, Email: Elaine@rhagallery.ie  

Royal Hibernian Academy, Gallagher Gallery,
15 Ely Place, Dublin 2

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New Dublin Fire Brigade Museum

The Dublin Fire Brigade was founded in 1862 – its 150th anniversary is taking place in 2012. The ambulance service provided by the Fire Brigade, covering the City and County of Dublin, was founded in 1898.

The Dublin Fire Brigade has a long and distinguished history of service to this great city, resulting in a museum that reflects the history of a brigade which holds a place of high regard and esteem in the affection of Dubliners.

The museum will continue to develop and evolve with time, reflecting an ongoing interest in the heritage of Dublin city and the Fire and Ambulance Service which serves its citizens every day.

Visits to the museum may be organised, by arrangement, for groups and interested parties, by contacting Tel: (01) 833 8313,  O’Brien Institute, Malahide Road, Marino, Dublin 3.


There is no admission charge.

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Dublin’s Wax Museum to Re-open Next Spring

Dublin’s much loved Wax Museum will re-open next spring at a new location in Foster Place in College Green, Dublin 2.

Visitors will discover a world where fantasy and reality combine and heroes of the past and the present will come alive before their eyes.

Children will experience a World of Fairytale and Fantasy, as they wander through the Kingdom of Fairytales to find the magical lamp and the all powerful genie!

The main section of the wax exhibition will broadly reflect the historical and cultural development of Ireland. Here visitors will find life sized figures heroes, together with the literary figures: Joyce, Yeats, and their contemporaries.

Displays have an informative and educational narrative which can be heard at the touch of a button.

The Chamber of Horrors is for the brave. In the Hall of Megastars, patrons will meet the stars of the glittery world of rock and roll in the form of: Michael Jackson, Madonna and all time great, Elvis Presley.

Kay Murray RIP
The former Director, of The National Wax Museum, Kay Murray, sadly passed away in July 2008. May she Rest in Peace. Her sister, Imelda, is now welcoming enquiries for the new project.
Contact: Ms Imelda Murray, Tel: (01) 872 6340.

Published by Fáilte Ireland
While every care has been taken to ensure accuracy, in the compilation of this Newsletter, Fáilte Ireland cannot however, accept responsibility for errors or omissions, but where such are brought to our attention, future publications will be amended accordingly.
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