Clonmacnoise and West Offaly
I have been in touch with Minister O’Donovan, state agencies, the Council and local communities to ensure that plans to enhance Clonmacnoise Monastic Site will bring the potential for spin off enterprises to boost the local economy.
We must do all we can so that visitors to Clonmacnoise are tempted to extend their stay and enjoy more of what West Offaly has to offer. We must encourage them out of their cars and coaches and onto our trails and greenways and into our local businesses. They won’t be disappointed.
Funding was allocated for a masterplan for Clonmacnoise in 2019. It was commissioned by the Office of Public Works, in partnership with the Department of Heritage in 2021. The masterplan will outline options for the enhancement of Clonmacnoise and I believe it presents a once in a generation opportunity for collaboration across agencies and communities to create something very special: A heritage experience which is truly inclusive of local communities, is climate proofed, and brings economic uplift and the potential for spin offs to the wider region.
It is essential that the plans for the future of the Clonmacnoise Monastic Site take account of opportunities including the recent Failte Ireland Tourism Plan and trail development, significant Government investment in active travel, greenway development, rural public transport, outdoor recreation infrastructure and the ‘Our Rural Future’ policy of Government. It must also take into account the local communities’ wishes and plans”.
I am working with communities including in Shannonbridge, Banagher and Ballycumber who are ready and willing to play their part in the transition of their region. I have written to the contractors, Denis Byrne Architects, who are preparing the plan, Minister O’Donovan who has responsibility for the plan, Offaly County Council who are feeding into the plan, and I am in touch with many other stakeholders to say we need to work together on this. I am determined we will maximise the opportunities for community and climate. Watch this exciting space.