Clare County Council has announced the appointment of Stephen Hanley as General Manager of Clare Tourism East, with responsibility for Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Craggaunowen Bronze Age Park, Knappogue Castle & Gardens, and the Inis Cealtra /Holy Island Experience.
Mr. Hanley has extensive experience in the tourism and hospitality sector having previously held the position of General Manager of The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin and General Manager of the Radisson Blu Hotels in Galway, Limerick, and Cork.
The appointment of Mr. Hanley, a native of County Kerry and graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management, comes just weeks after Clare County Council and The Shannon Airport Group signed a historic agreement marking the official handover of the Clare assets of Shannon Heritage to the local authority.
“I am honoured to assume the position of General Manager of some of Ireland’s best known and most loved heritage attractions,” commented Mr. Hanley.
He continued, “County Clare and the wider Mid-West Region are fortunate to have an abundance of top-tier visitor attractions on their doorstep. Working under the auspices of the local authority, I look forward to exploring new opportunities for further developing the sites and promoting a tourism product that delivers for visitors to the county and the local economy.”
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, welcomed Mr. Hanley to the role, adding, “Stephen’s appointment is a huge boost to the local tourism sector as he has vast experience of working at the highest level of the Irish tourism and hospitality sector.”
“Clare County Council has embarked on an exciting new chapter in recent weeks, and we look forward to working with Stephen in bringing forward fresh and innovative ideas that will further enhance the tourism offering at Bunratty, Craggaunowen and Knappogue, and contribute to the future development of a brand-new tourism experience at Inis Cealtra / Holy Island in East Clare,” added Mr. Dowling.
Leonard Cleary, Director of Tourism Development, Clare County Council, said the new appointment is the latest in a series of positive announcements for the Shannon Heritage sites in recent weeks. Stephen joins the newly formed Tourism Development Directorate team with a dedicated focus on the implementation of the ‘County Clare Tourism Strategy 2030’ in partnership with the private sector tourism industry and host communities.
“Working with Lambert Smith Hampton, Clare County Council has commenced an in-depth technical review of Bunratty, Craggaunowen, Knappogue, and the retail unit at the Cliffs of Moher Experience, which will guide future, much-needed investment in maintenance, remedial and conservation works at the sites. Working with Stephen in his new role, Clare County Council is committed to investing in the future development of the sites for the benefit of the tourism sector and the wider economy as well as the communities in which they are situated,” concluded Mr. Cleary.