Representatives of Clare County Council and Fáilte Ireland joined with members of the local community in Ennistymon today to mark the successful completion of a Destination Towns initiative that has significantly enhanced the public realm and the visitor experience in the North Clare town.
€500,000 was allocated towards the project by Fáilte Ireland under the Destination Towns scheme, with the Local Authority providing an additional 25% match funding.
Work on the capital project investment commenced in early 2021 following a period of public consultation and has since delivered an extensive array of public realm works aimed at further improving the overall visual attractiveness of the town, promoting the town’s rich heritage, and enhancing pedestrian movement and accessibility.
A key element of the project has been the emphasis placed on increasing dwell time in the town and reducing vehicle dominance through the introduction of gathering areas for social interaction and additional accessible street furniture, pedestrian crossings, bicycle racks, street tree planting, and accessibility improvements throughout the town. The widening of existing footpaths has also resulted in new public spaces being created to encourage outdoor activities, street cafés and additional opportunities for markets and fairs.
Other completed works include the installation of high-quality street lighting on Church Hill, Parliament Street and the Square.
Cllr. Joe Cooney, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, has hailed the Destination Towns initiative as a ‘transformational project’ for Ennistymon.
“The completion of these works strengthens the town’s status as a vibrant commercial and tourist centre,” stated Cllr. Cooney. “A thriving Ennistymon benefits the economy of the surrounding hinterland and I am delighted that Clare County Council, with the invaluable support and expertise of Fáilte Ireland, has delivered a scheme that everyone in the town and the county should be rightly proud of.”
Leonard Cleary, Director of Tourism Development and West Clare Municipal District (MD), Clare County Council, commented, “The primary objective of the Destination Towns scheme is to encourage visitors to stay longer, spend more and immerse themselves in the history, heritage and culture of one of Clare’s best known and loved market towns. As a gateway to the surrounding Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark and the Wild Atlantic Way, it is important that we continue to work with key stakeholders, including Elected Members, Fáilte Ireland and local communities, to explore new ways of ensuring that towns and villages countywide can fulfil their tourism potential.”
Miriam Kennedy, Head of Wild Atlantic Way for Fáilte Ireland said, “Fáilte Ireland is committed to and focused on the sustainable development of tourism across Ireland which is an important economic driver and source of employment. We look for every opportunity to expand the number of appealing destinations that offer compelling visitor experiences with the potential to drive visitors across the regions. Fáilte Ireland’s work in partnership with Clare County Council through our Destination Towns scheme has made a definite impact on the appeal of Ennistymon as a tourist destination. By bringing the market town’s unique history and heritage to life and enhancing pedestrian movement and accessibility, visitors will stay longer, spend more and immerse themselves in local activities and culture.
PJ Carmody, Project Manager and Senior Executive Technician with Clare County Council, said the project has developed Ennistymon’s potential from being a transit zone, that people pass through, to a destination where visitors want to stay longer and experience the local culture and attractions.
He added, “The Elected Members of West Clare MD, local businesses and the wider community have played an instrumental role in shaping the design and scope of the final project. The response to the completed works has been overwhelmingly positive, which is testament to the work of the contractors and staff of the West Clare MD.”
Photograph caption: NO REPRO FEE Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council and Siobhan King, Client Services Officer at Failte Ireland with (back) from left Leonard Cleary, Director of Tourism Development and West Clare MD; Enda McNamara, Senior Executive Engineer, Clare County Council; John O’Malley, Senior Executive Officer, Clare County Council; Cllr Shane Talty, PJ Carmody, Project Manager, Clare County Council; Martin Shannon, Senior General Services Supervisor, Clare County Council; Cllr. Ian Lynch, Cathaoirleach, West Clare MD; and Cllr. Joe Killeen, Leas Cathaoirleach of West Clare MD marking the successful completion of a Destination Towns initiative that has significantly enhanced the public realm and the visitor experience in the North Clare town. Photograph by Eamon Ward