Tuamgraney, County Clare - A Community, Tourism and Cultural Development Study
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Produced by This feasibility Study was commissioned by Tuamgraney Alan Hill Tourism Development Ltd Tourism Working Group and funded by Clare County in association with Council. Its aim was to scope the potential of developing Richard Rice (Healy Partners Architects) a sustainable tourism, community and cultural quarter in the heart of the village to assist driving Rural and Development in the wider area. The core elements of this Nevin Associates Ltd. Study are the ancient St Cronan’s Church, Tuamgraney Castle (c. 1600- built to protect this ecclesiastical legacy Commissioned by which goes back over 1,000 years), and the nationally Tuamgraney Tourism Working Group significant Tuamgraney Handball Club and Alleys. Finally, these assets coexist with a Parish House, which Designed by presented- within the overall campus. This intriguing OpticNerve redevelopment scenario if fully realised will add genuine value to both locals and visitors alike and position Funded by Tuamgraney to be a key location in Fáilte Ireland’s new destination brand- Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. Clare County Council On average, once every generation communities in Acknowledgements rural Ireland are presented with an opportunity to Tuamgraney Tourism Working Group would fundamentally change their development trajectory; like to acknowledge the assistance of all The Tuamgraney community in East County Clare is now those who inputted into this development of at this point. This Study has examined the options that this study. In particular the group would like lie ahead to reinvigorate the local economy along with to thank the elected members of the Killaloe its cultural, social and recreational life. It stands on the shoulders of significant community achievements and a Municipal District for their support and recognisable momentum of late. funding of this study: Cllr Michael Begley, In order to properly investigate and communicate the Cllr Pat Burke, interconnections between spaces and communities, this Cllr Joe Cooney, Study adopts a spatial zonal approach, moving from an Cllr Pat Hayes, inner Zone 1 (the tourism, community and cultural Cllr Tony O’Brien, quarter), Zone 2 (the village) and flowing out to a Zone 3 (East Clare). This spotlight is ever present Cllr Alan O’Callaghan. throughout the document. Tuamgraney, in addition, cannot be removed from any debate about Holy Island Further Information or Lough Derg. All are inextricably linked by history, email@example.com narrative and geography. www.tuamgraney.ie
East Clare Memorial Park, Tuamgraney 1 Executive Summary An essential building block of this Study has been the The scale of initial funding required for Phase 1 is on-going conversation with the community through relatively modest (c. €300K); however, the returns are the autumn of 2017 and spring of 2018. The constant significant in economic, infrastructural and societal input of key partners like Clare Council and CLDC terms. Tuamgraney village has immediate challenging / LEADER has given the Study an authenticity along deficits to overcome, from accommodation to destination with signposting immediate actions upon completion. recognition, but there are no obstacles that are beyond The Study has identified that there is considerable their capacity to overcome through working together. potential (and justification) to redevelop Zone 1 in an Tuamgraney, and in particular Zone 1, has the potential incremental, imaginative three- Phase fashion as follows: to become a signature discovery point in the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands Brand to be developed. Recommendation 1: Conserve and enhance St. Cronan’s Church This change will only come about through greater for the benefit of its congregation, local community participation in the process. The timeframe community and visitors (Phase 1); needs to be viewed as being inter-generational. The management challenge ahead is great, requiring new Recommendation 2: ways of seeing, communicating and delivering the vision Expand and enhance the Parish House as set out in this Study. The on-going practical support of a community, cultural and visitor hub for key external partners will be critical to success. Tuamgraney (Phase 1); There is strong support evident for the built vision in Phase 1. The visual enhancement will be significant, but Recommendation 3: more importantly, it provides the community with new Explore further the potential of spaces to socialise, learn and entertain. The quality of life the development of a National Handball will be improved for many. Visitors likewise will benefit Museum / Experience (Phase 2); from an attractive, unique and authentic Irish rural village close to the Shannon and with an important Recommendation 4: (and entertaining) set of stories to tell and be told by Explore the restoration of Tuamgraney gifted storytellers. Castle to allow access for visitors (Phase 3) This Study demonstrates a confidence that there is a sustainable market for this integrated development vision and that Tuamgraney has a key role to play in the development of the new Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands Brand.
2 Table of Contents 1 Introduction 3 1.1 Tuamgraney 4 1.2 Tuamgraney Tourism Working Group 4 1.3 Key Plans and Strategies 5 1.4 Terms of Reference 7 1.5 Defining the Study Zones 7 2 The Consultation Process and Key Findings 9 2.1 Introduction 10 2.2 Community Survey Feedback 10 2.3 Tuamgraney Community Mindmap 11 2.4 Key Findings 11 3 Key Recommendations and Core Strategic Partners 13 3.1 Zone 1 Recommendations 14 3.2 Zone 2 Recommendations 26 3.3 Zone 3 Recommendations 32 3.4 General Recommendations 33 3.5 Core Strategic Partners 34 4 Management, Operations & Finance 35 4.1 Governance 36 4.2 How Best to Manage Things Going Forward 37 4.3 Generating a Prudent Financial Model 38 4.4 Assumptions of the Financial Model 39 4.5 Revenue Forecasts 40 4.6 Conclusion 42 5 Conclusion 43 6 Appendices 47 6.1 Appendix A 48 6.2 Appendix B 49 6.3 Appendix C 49 6.4 Appendix D 50 6.5 Appendix E 51 6.6 Appendix F 52
4 1.2 1.1 Tuamgraney Tourism Tuamgraney Working Group Tuamgraney is an award-winning village in East Clare Tuamgraney Tourism Working Group (TTWG) was adjacent to the town of Scariff. It lies close to the shores established in late 2016 to examine the potential of of Lough Derg with access to the lake via Reddan’s Quay and tourism and rural development in Tuamgraney. and Scariff Harbour. The village is approximately 30 / The working group is made up of representatives of the 40 km from Limerick, Ennis, Shannon and Portumna. following: It enjoys a strategic location on the main route around • Tuamgraney Development Association Lough Derg with the core of the village marked by an • Bodyke / Tuamgraney Pastoral Council attractive Memorial Park at the junction of the R352 • St Cronan’s Church Committee (Ennis to Portumna road) and the R463 (Tuamgraney to • Tuamgraney Community Weekend Committee Killaloe road). • Tuamgraney Handball Club • Tourism Business Interests in Tuamgraney The history of Tuamgraney dates from the 6th Century when a Monastery flourished there – a sister foundation The group considers that strengthened tourism and of Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) on Lough Derg. It is a cultural development in Tuamgraney has the potential well-appointed village and a high performer in the Tidy to complement the flagship tourism proposals for Holy Towns Competition- winning a bronze medal for the past Island / Inis Cealtra as outlined in the Inis Cealtra 6 years. It is also an overall winner of “Clare in Bloom” Sustainable Tourism & Visitor Management Plan. Clare on several occasions, including 2017. Tuamgraney is County Council has funded this Study for Tuamgraney a former overall winner in its population category in through support of the elected members in the Killaloe the All Island Pride of Place awards. The community Municipal District. has a strong record of accomplishment in community development particularly through Tuamgraney Development Association (TDA) founded in 1996 and who initiated the formation of Tuamgraney Tourism Working Group. Tuamgraney and its immediate surroundings boasts a range of activities; from equestrian, fishing, sightseeing, golf, and offers high quality craft and artisan retailing experiences. The village is the birthplace of world- renowned author, Edna O’Brien, world champion handball player, Pat Kirby, and well-known historian, the late Dr. Edward MacLysaght. East Clare Memorial Park, Tuamgraney
Reddan’s Quay, Tuamgraney 5 1.3 Key Plans and Strategies 1.3.1 1.3.2 Clare County Development Plan Lough Derg: Life at the Lake - A Roadmap 2017–2023 for Experience Development and Scariff / Tuamgraney is identified in the Clare County Destination Marketing 2014–2017 Development Plan 2017–2023 as a Service Town for the This document was published in 2014 to guide those East Clare area. Scariff / Tuamgraney had a population involved in Experience Development and Selling in the in 2016 of 770. The Clare County Development Plan Lough Derg Area. The vision of the Study is to develop 2017–2023 identifies a focus on tourism for Tuamgraney. Lough Derg as a key destination for superb water based activities combined with a range of very high quality “Scarriff and Tuamgraney are recognised as one of the main walking, cycling, heritage, culture and food experiences service centres in East Clare. The opportunity exists to allow that will entice domestic and international visitors to these complementary settlements to expand to improve the stay longer. range of services available to residents of both settlements and to visitors to the area. This plan proposes that significant 1.3.3 service provision will continue to be directed towards the Lough Derg Heritage Audit 2011 more established town centre of Scarriff, while Tuamgraney An audit of the key heritage assets and themes associated will be encouraged to complement this role with the provision with Lough Derg was undertaken in 2011. The purpose of supporting services such as visitor accommodation, in of the audit was not only to determine the nature, addition to building on its tourism potential arising from its characteristics and condition of the heritage assets monastic heritage and attractive nature.” available, but also to understand how the heritage assets could be utilised as visitor assets and built into the visitor In recognition of the broader potential for tourism in experience. The Audit was commissioned by Clare, Galway Tuamgraney, the Clare County Development Plan Zones and Tipperary County Councils. All the key heritage assets a site for tourism development centred on St Cronan’s in Tuamgraney are referenced in the audit including St 10th Century Church and Tuamgraney Castle. It states the Cronan’s Church, Tuamgraney Castle and handball alleys. following: “Tuamgraney’s location approximately mid-way between the tourist centres of Mountshannon and Killaloe 1.3.4 provide it with the opportunity to harness its potential for Inis Cealtra Visitor Management and Tourism development. The tourism potential of the village Sustainable Tourism Development Plan rests in tapping into its unique heritage. The village is a This plan, published in July 2017, was commissioned by former monastic settlement founded by St Cronan. The 10th Clare County Council with the remit to seek to ensure century church that bears his name is the oldest church in the long-term conservation of this significant historical continuous use in Ireland or Britain. The church has a strong and cultural site while expanding its attractiveness as a association with Brian Boru and served as a heritage centre sustainable tourist destination for an increased number from 1991 to 2014. In recognition of its potential to develop of visitors. The plan seeks to set this future vision as a visitor attraction the site and adjacent lands are Zoned within a wider context and includes several references for Tourism (TOU1)” to Tuamgraney given its historical links to Inis Cealtra and the opportunity to orientate and direct visitors from Tuamgraney to Inis Cealtra and vice versa.
6 1.3.5 Clare County Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016–2021 The purpose of the plan is to promote economic development and local and community development in the functional area of Clare County Council. The recognition in the plan of the potential for synergies between community facilities and tourism is particularly relevant to Tuamgraney. Holy Island/Inis Cealtra “Town and Village enhancement, including improved 1.3.8 maintenance, upgrading and renewal of community facilities Commission for Economic Development and public spaces would not only provide quality of life of Rural Areas (CEDRA) Report opportunities for residents but would also provide attractive This report was published in 2014 and settings for visitors. Such enhancement would help those recommended a series of actions by government towns and villages to achieve their potential to act as departments to support the long-term sustainable catalysts for and / or partners in the regeneration of their development of rural Ireland. It also introduced the more rural hinterland.” (Page 27) concept of Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZs). Scariff & district was one of the REDZ identified in 1.3.6 County Clare. A concrete outcome is the significant Clare Rural Development Strategy 2026 funding that has been provided for the marketing, This is the first rural development strategy for County development and promotion of the Lough Derg Blueway Clare and is very relevant to the broad aims of this which includes the Lough Derg Canoe Trail. Study to drive rural development in Tuamgraney and surrounding area. The strategy identifies Scariff / 1.3.9 Tuamgraney / Mountshannon as combined towns acting Blueways Ireland as a hub for surrounding parishes. The Blueways are a network of multi-activity recreational trails being developed by Waterways Ireland and its 1.3.7 partners. The new national product offering has a LEADER Local Development Strategy (LDS) particular focus on the 180km of canoe trails with This was developed by Clare Local Development currently 21 individual journeys. It represents a new Company (CLDC) to achieve a number of objectives in thrust towards “slow tourism” attempting to be captured the areas of: Enterprise Development and Tourism; Rural by Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. For Tuamgraney Towns, Community Facilities and Broadband; Hard-to- the overall tourism experience linking food, culture, Reach Communities and Young People; Water Protection, heritage and activity is an attractive proposition and one Biodiversity and Renewable Energy. Through an on-going the community is well positioned to capitalise upon. conversation with CLDC it has been established that Continued engagement with Waterways Ireland will pay there are considerable opportunities for support. handsome dividends into the future for Tuamgraney.
7 1.4 1.5 Terms of Reference Defining the Study Zones Alan Hill Tourism Development Ltd and Associates were Three spatially distinct Zones were defined for the Study. appointed by Tuamgraney Tourism Working Group to These zones are outlined and mapped on the next page. carry out a feasibility Study, in consultation with key stakeholders, for the sustainable development of tourism in Tuamgraney. The Terms of Reference evolved as the project proceeded and in light of findings. The objectives of the Tuamgraney Community, Tourism and Cultural Development Study were; TOU1, Tourism Zoned Site, Tuamgraney 1: To provide proposals for the a. St. Cronan’s Church future sustainable management and b. Tuamgraney Castle protection of the site TOU1 (see aerial c. Parish House photograph) including how they inform d. Tuamgraney Handball Club e. Additional Tourism Zoned Lands visitor management; 2: To provide proposals on the provision of community, cultural and tourism development on site TOU1 e and the village of Tuamgraney in order to assist in driving rural development in the wider East Clare area. d b c a
8 ZONE 1: The land Zoned Tourism (TOU1) in Parish Tuamgraney, including St Cronan’s House & Church & Graveyard, the Handball Gardens Club & Alleys, Tuamgraney Castle, Tuamgraney Castle the Parish House and Garden (front and back) and lands to the Tuamgraney rear of the Parish House. Handball Club & Alleys St. Cronan’s Church, 964AD Graveyard Edna Reddan’s Quay O’Brien Scariff Plaque Dr. Tommy Daly Plaque Lough River Sha Woollen Mill and Shop Tuamgraney Lime Kiln er East Clare East Clare Riv Equestrian Centre Memorial um Park hr Handmade oag Chocolate Cr Factory and Shop St. Joseph’s ZONE 1 RC Church ZONE 2: Bodyke GAA Grounds 400m Famine Memorial Park 540m Everything outside Zone 1 St. Coelan’s Well 1km and within the controlled R352 speed limits of Tuamgraney Bodyke 4km village. Tulla 16km Ennis 33km Limerick 35km ke GAA Grounds 400m ne Memorial Park 540m oelan’s Well 1km 2 yke 4km Tuamgraney a 16km Community is 33km Woodland erick 35km Slieve Aughty Whitegate Crusheen Mountshannon R463 M18 Feakle Scarriff g Killaloe 15km h D er Limerick 45km Barefield Loug Tuamgraney Tulla Nenagh ENNIS Quin Kilkishen Killaloe ZONE 3: Newmarket Broadford The broader East Clare area covers on Fergus roughly 640sq km, with the town of Ennis Sixmilebridge O’Briensbridge M7 to the west, Limerick to the south, the SHANNON Shannon Slieve Aughty Mountains to the north, Bunratty INTERNATIONAL Parteen and nearby Lough Derg, forming its AIRPORT tuary LIMERICK Eastern boundary of the outer Zone. n o n Es Sh a n N19 N18 CITY M20 N24
2 The Consultation Process and Key Findings
10 Wilde Irish Chocolates, Tuamgraney 2.1 2.2 Introduction Community Survey Feedback The role and importance of a thorough and continuous A key part of the consultation Phase of this Study was consultation process- informing research and findings the feedback received through a Community Survey. was not undervalued. It was appreciated by the It is clear from the analysis that there is a need for community that future success would likely depend greater community participation in the delivery of on foundations being laid and relationships built the development agenda going forward. As with the (both internally and externally) in these early stages majority of similar communities it is the small number rotating around a shared vision. A set of consultees of committed volunteers upon whose back the bulk of (in discussions with TTWG) were identified across the the work rests. This status quo is no longer an option public, private, community, agency and special interest for Tuamgraney. The Survey (10 questions) addressed groups that needed to feed into the Study. In summary, the following: - issues facing the village, priority actions, the consultation process involved one to one interviews, obstacles, creating a tourism economy, and village telephone interviews, Zone 1 landowners interviews, enhancement. Focus Group sessions with agency partners and with relevant local organisations. There were formal Council sessions with Elected Members and separately Council Officers (x 4 sessions in total). Importantly there Heritage in Tuamgraney Are you aware of Tuamgraney’s rich ecclesiastical and were well attended Public Sessions (X 2) in the Parish historical heritage? House and the Secondary School. In total, an excess of 120 people participated in the consultation process; a representative level of participation and feedback. In 81% Yes order to secure a wider level of considered feedback from the Tuamgraney community a Community Survey was distributed and the results fed into the process. 4% No 15% Some Awareness Could Tuamgraney’s existing heritage play a more important part in the community, cultural, educational and business life of the village? 70% Yes 4% No 26% Not Sure
11 2.3 Tuamgraney Community 2.4 Mindmap Key Findings The Tuamgraney Mindmap captured information that During such a Study, discoveries usually come from was locally relevant to the village, i.e. Zone 2. The one of three sources- namely: what people, partners exercise was a culmination of preliminary desktop and ‘friends’ of the project tell you during the talking research and direct feedback and input that was received phase; what one’s own professional objectivity, informed during an open public session. It is useful both in terms by experience, tells you; and finally what is revealed by of baseline information for future monitoring and looking at best in class examples of similar ventures evaluation of the village’s progress and development. It elsewhere. In table format on the following page are the also captures a wide variety of local relevant information principal findings that have come out of the research and that may help inform decisions and help information consultation phase that started at the end of September retrieval for current and future project research. 2017 and finishing six months later. The commentary piece (right column) is intended to place each in an The list of consultees, results of the community survey unadorned strategic context. and mindmap are included in appendix A. Attractiveness of Tuamgraney 1 2 3 4 5 Within the village today, could you rate the attractiveness of what is on offer to the visitor? (1 = Not Attractive to 5 = Highly Attractive) Parking Tourist Resources (information, signage, things to do) Regular Events & Entertainment on Offer Welcoming Environment (Friendly welcome) Attractive Environment (clean, looking good, community pride) Location / Ease of Access (to the village) Commercial Outlets / Catering / Tourist Accommodation Development Concerns 1 2 3 4 5 Please rate any possible concerns you may have about tourism and heritage development in Tuamgraney? 1 = No Concern to 5 = Big Concern Lack of Tourist Demand Lack of Continued Support from External Public Partners Inability of the Community to Agree on a Suitable Strategy Negative Impact on the Community Fabric of the Village due to increased numbers Negative Overall Environmental Impacts eg. cars, litter, noise Expenditure on Tourism / Heritage not Necessary in the Current Climate Ample supply of Similar Heritage Offerings in East Clare
12 Ref Description Zone(s) Comments Need for full alignment with emerging Lough Derg / Critical attention needs to be paid to the evolution Holy Island propositions. of both these significant strategic projects. As much 1 3 as possible Tuamgraney needs to ‘drive’ rather than be a ‘passenger’. Need for enhanced cooperation and joint Isolationist thinking and parish rivalry will be to the 2 programming with Scariff and adjoining 3 detriment of the community. Partnership and joint communities in East Clare. working are the language of today. Tuamgraney possesses superior heritage Recognise the exceptional ‘assets’ at the and recreational assets in a clean welcoming communities’ disposal. In themselves they will never 3 environment in a well located area destined for 2 3 create a tourism destination. Enhanced organisation tourism growth over the coming decade. and added value will bring these ‘assets’ to a new level. Inadequate tourism related infrastructure, skills Without systematically addressing clear tourism and experience e.g. accommodation & festivals / related deficits in the Tuamgraney economy little 4 2 events. substantial progress can be expected. Enhanced commercialization is required. Multiple owners of the primary heritage assets in All relevant parties / landowners in relation to the the inner heritage cluster. inner Zone 1 need to buy-in to the redevelopment project over its proposed development phases. It’s 5 1 important to remember any redevelopment is for the benefit of the community and visitor alike. Dual recognition is critical. Respected artisan producers with a commitment These micro businesses will create employment, to the development of the community however give the visitor a reason to stop, linger and spend significantly more are required to create the money. More are required. These businesses need 6 2 necessary critical mass of micro businesses that to be suitably networked. can form the foundation of a sustainable tourism destination. There exists capable development drivers, however Despite the fact that this is a community / voluntary more participation will be required however more run enterprise it needs to aim to be managed to the 7 participation will be required from across the rest of 2 standards of the highest private sector business. the community Commercial acumen and income generation has to be ever-present in the way business is conducted. Considerable practical support emerging from Recognise, acknowledge and continue to deliver CLDC and Clare County Council. for those bodies / agencies that have supported 8 2 the community in the difficult early period. They will likely see this as a long term relationship. Be mindful to give them what they seek. Potential mid-term partnership with Fáilte Ireland Through the ice-breaking of this Study continue to as part of the emerging ‘Lakelands’ offering. develop the personal relationship with key officers 9 2 3 of Fáilte Ireland who have been tasked with creating a new heritage tourism proposition around the navigable waterways. Key Tuamgraney ‘stories’ are St Cronan’s and Tourism is a fast changing sector of the Irish and its relationships to Brian Boru & Holy Island and global economy. Technology, trends and fashion will Visionary Edward MacLysaght so much more than influence what the visitor needs tomorrow however 10 1 just the founder of modern Irish genealogy. to hedge against these vagaries Tuamgraney should focus on its core stories, told by excellent storytellers in an authentic friendly atmosphere.
13 3 Key Recommendations and Core Strategic Partners The apex of any Feasibility Study is a set of considered and integrated recommendations. These in turn have evolved from the findings which flowed from the extensive research and ‘listening’ phase of the project. The recommendations in this Study are presented for each of Zone 1, 2 and 3 and finally some general recommendations that are key to delivering over time on the overall vision of the Study.
St. Cronan’s doorway 14 3.1 Zone 1 Recommendations 3.1.1 Introduction The assembly of St Cronan’s Church, Tuamgraney Castle, St Cronan’s 10th Century Church the Handball Club and the adjacent Parish House on a St Cronan’s was built prior to 964AD and is the oldest single site at one of the main entry points to Tuamgraney church in continuous use in Ireland. It is a rare surviving presents a unique opportunity in which to develop a building in the country with a direct link to Brian Boru, project that is inclusive of Heritage, Sports, Tourism who is recorded as having repaired the building, with and Community uses. More broadly, the public realm visitors today still passing through the same 10th century spaces can be developed in a manner that creates both doorway used by the High King of Ireland. This is the site a strong sense of pride of place for the community and of the original monastery in Tuamgraney and was a sister destination for the visitors. establishment of Holy Island. A round tower also existed within the complex but no trace of it survives. Zone 1 is located at the entrance to the village when approached from Killaloe / Lough Derg. The proposed Tuamgraney Castle site area along with a field to rear (west) is Zoned in the This 15th Century Tower House was built by the O’Grady Clare County Development Plan 2017–2023 for Tourism clan to protect St Cronan’s Church in the same way as use with the named objective in the Development Plan Tuamgraney’s round tower (long disappeared) provided stating ‘make provision for amenity, leisure and tourism- protection in earlier centuries. It is a rare surviving related developments to contribute to the tourism example of a tower house in a village setting in County product, based on the network of loughs, harbours and Clare. walkways in Scariff / Tuamgraney and the wider area’. The site includes two protected structures (St Cronan’s Members of the O’Grady family almost invariably Church &Tuamgraney Castle) which are separated by the provided the churchmen here from c. 1100 to 1600. The Croaghrum River flowing through the site. O’Grady clan have very strong associations with Holy Island and the ‘Church of the Wounded Men’ was their The site location enjoys prominence to the public road mortuary chapel on the island. which is the major tourism route for Lough Derg and Holy Island into the future. The location is also at the heart of Tuamgraney village being within metres of the Memorial Park. The design intent behind the public realm (Zone 1) could be taken forward to inform the design style, and finishes for the public realm for the rest of the village (Zone 2).
Tuamgraney 60x30 Handball Alley 15 Tuamgraney Handball Club Parish House The handball club is located immediately behind The existing Parish House is a single storey, modest Tuamgraney Castle and consists of both a large format mid-20th Century dwelling which is currently used as the (60 x 30) and normal format (40 x 20) handball Parish office and community meeting rooms. Set on its courts, both enclosed. The club has a significant history, own grounds, it has a large garden area to the rear and founded in 1911 and was the club of world handball a front garden which has the potential to engage more champion Pat Kirby (1970). Kirby also collected four positively with the public roadway to the front. successive All-Ireland senior softball singles titles (1974- 77) and six consecutive 40x20 medals (1975-80) before In conclusion, the buildings located on the site area travelling to the USA where he dominated the USHA combine to present an opportunity to consider a Masters series. He became the first Irish member of the development that engages in Heritage, Culture, Sports prestigious USA Hall of Fame in 1986. When looking at and Community. While the presence of St Cronan’s the history of Handball in Ireland, it intersects frequently Church and Tuamgraney Castle anchor the tourism and with Tuamgraney. The handball club is vibrant and heritage element of the scheme, the development of the well supported and includes among its club members Parish House allows the site area to host the necessary Diarmaid Nash, one of the top players currently in the services and social events. country including Irish Men’s Senior Doubles Champion 2018 and a World Men’s Doubles Winner (2015). It is recommended that Zone 1 develop to its full potential over 3 clear phases. Parish House with Tuamgraney Castle in background
16 18.104.22.168 “Interpretation and information available on, and visitors RECOMMENDATION 1 encouraged to visit, Tuamgraney—St Cronan’s church Conserve and enhance St Cronan’s for the benefit at Tuamgraney to the south of Scarriff, was built before of its congregation, local community and visitors 964AD, and is one of the oldest churches in use in Ireland, (Phase 1) England, Scotland and Wales. A doorway in the church, St Cronan’s Church is owned by the Church of Ireland, through which Brian Boru entered over 1,000 years ago, is who are very proud of its unique history and are still intact.” (Page 131) committed to its future. The church is open unattended to visitors from April to September each year. Tuamgraney Development Association with the assistance of funding from the Heritage Council installed The building is a place of worship. There are no proposals visitor / interpretive signage in early 2018 to enhance recommended for St Cronan’s that would compromise the visitor experience but it would benefit from further this. The focus is on how the story of the building and discrete and sensitive interpretation. St Cronan’s Church its history can be told in a sensitive manner. Indeed the has recently facilitated community events such as stillness and quietness of the building, providing a place music and lectures. It is renowned for having excellent for reflection for visitors, is viewed as an asset. acoustics. These initiatives are seen as an opportunity to harness greater community and visitor usage all in a The church and Tuamgraney have strong links with Holy manner that is respectful of its ecclesiastical importance. Island / Inis Cealtra and this potential is well referenced in the Clare County Council ‘Inis Cealtra Sustainable St Cronan’s is in good condition and there is no Tourism Development Plan’ as documented below: substantial conservation or construction works to be undertaken with the exception of re pointing of the west “Given Tuamgraney’s strategic location on the main route gable. The building served a dual use as the East Clare around Lough Derg and its riverside setting, there is an Heritage Centre from 1989 to 2014. Substantial repair opportunity to stress the historical links between the two and conservation works were carried out by the East ecclesiastical settlements as a way to orientate and direct Clare Heritage Group in the late 1980s / early 1990s visitors to Inis Cealtra.” (Page 22) along with significant promotional work. Tuamgraney continues to benefit from the legacy of this work. “Focus on the development of Inis Cealtra will be developed within the context of the other heritage attractions in the northeast Clare area…extraordinary sites that should serve as a natural adjunct and onward step from the Mountshannon / Inis Cealtra destination, ideally via the Pre-Romanesque Church at Tuamgraney”. (Page 73)
Concert at St. Cronan’s Church 17 This Study recommends the following for St Cronan’s: • Continue to open Church unattended from April to September season and build on telling the story of St Cronan’s over the last 1,000yrs aided by recent signage funded by the Heritage Council; • Continue to work seamlessly with the Church authorities and congregation; • Devise and install a high quality AV presentation on the history of St Cronan’s Church / Monastery at Tuamgraney and links with Brian Boru and Holy Island; • Upgrade appropriately the appearance of interior of Church; • Undertake necessary conservation works to west gable (repointing with lime mortar); • Develop a website / Facebook page for St Cronan’s that is responsibly managed; • Encourage wider use of St Cronan’s as a cultural space that can be ‘packaged’ e.g. music, screenings, talks and boutique conferences in keeping with the character of the building; • Offer St Cronan’s as a unique and historic marriage venue; • Develop a conservation management plan for St Cronan’s including for the recording and storage of the various stone fragments in the church. • Reverse temporary alterations from the 1990s as the building no longer functions as a heritage centre Local actors perform the role of Brian Boru and his brother Marcán, at St. Cronan’s 10th Century Church
18 22.214.171.124 RECOMMENDATION 2 This Study and the working group fully acknowledge Expand and enhance the Parish House as that any decision on the future use of the building is a community, cultural, and visitor hub for a matter for the community and the Pastoral Council. Tuamgraney (Phase 1) The purpose of this Study is to create a vision for the The Parish House is owned and managed by Bodyke / building as part of Zone 1, make recommendations on Tuamgraney Parish and Pastoral Council. It currently its potential continued evolution as a space for locals serves as a parish office on a part time basis in addition and visitors alike and advise on the feasibility of any to being popular for community meetings and events. proposals. The public consultation clearly showed that its evolution The benefit of the Parish House is that restrictions into a community space in recent years is highly imposed by the various elements of confinement valued by parishioners and there is a strong desire to (protected structures, existing activity, and available site see it enhanced further for community and pastoral area) of the other three buildings are not encountered use. Existing uses of the Parish House and potential with this building. There is more physical development additional uses are contained in Appendix B. The research flexibility. and consultation also noted similar initiatives / projects that had been completed in Kilkishen and Flagmount The recommended development of this structure is to in recent years and were planned or underway in accommodate all existing activity but also develop the Ogonnelloe and Scariff and that need and capacity also location to accommodate a variety of uses allowing existed in Tuamgraney. the building to evolve into an important hub for the community / parish and visitors to the area. There is also a recognition that a shared use with a visitor focus would also be of wider benefit including helping The design approach to the Parish House therefore sustain the house into the future. It would also help looks to retain all existing functions that the building position Tuamgraney to benefit from sustainable tourism currently carries out and to develop the building with development likely to emerge in the years ahead with the select refurbishment of the existing building and a single strengthening of Holy Island as a destination and the storey extension to the rear. It is recommended that the new Fáilte Ireland’s brand- Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. existing building is modified to accommodate a café, gift shop and toilets. The rear extension is intended to accommodate multi-use areas which are flexible in their format and capable of exhibition, community events, co-working space, modest interpretation and functions.
Blossom Harp Festival 2018, Tuamgraney 19 This Study recommends the following for the Parish House; • Bodyke / Tuamgraney Pastoral Council in conjunction with wider parish and community to expand the existing Parish House creating an enhanced community, cultural and visitor space; • Devise a structure for delivering the above vision that ensures that the building remains in parish In addition, the development of the rear garden into a ownership; courtyard capable of assembly, play space, community • Examine potential for expanding the Parish House events and markets should be considered. The location of to be of benefit to the entire East Clare cluster of this courtyard can visually ‘surprise’, given its proximity parishes as a venue for meetings / talks as well as to Tuamgraney Castle as well as future linkages to being a community / cultural centre for Bodyke / adjoining tourism development in the future. Tuamgraney Parish. • Using preliminary proposals in this plan, consult The proposed public realm works (see image) are further on project through Community Planning organised around the idea of unifying all the front garden Exercise being funded by CLDC / LEADER programme areas into an open landscaped area. The route over to St (commenced April, 2018). In particular target Cronan’s Church could be improved with the installation consultation at younger (u30) and older (over 60) age of a foot bridge over the stream, aligning the route from groups to identify needs. Recognise the current multi- the Castle to the Church. The landscape works could uses and reimagine new additional uses going forward; include a sculpting of the landscape to allow ease of • If this vision is acceptable (and resources secured) access to the stream terrace. The visual impact towards the extended Parish House should be used during the public road would be strong and positive. day time by visitors and local alike. This attractive space could offer: - coffee shop / cafe, learning Zone, The opportunity of the project would also determine how local interpretation telling the Tuamgraney story, traffic speed can be reduced to appropriate and safe levels tech hub, exhibitions, modest retailing (local crafts) and present a project of scale to the passer by who is and events. In additional the existing parish office encouraged to stop and explore not just the site area but would be refreshed, meeting facilities improved and to continue to explore the other secrets of Tuamgraney. made more flexible, rest facilities expanded and the In this respect the proposed public realm improvements outdoors Zone employed as an orientation space for the area in front of Zone 1 extending up to the with capacity to host larger groups and events. The Memorial Park are critical to the overall project. opening hours should aim to be 9am to 9pm. • Devise key stories to be told in the building in spaces that are shared with community uses. Commission an interpretive framework. These include aspects of history / heritage of Tuamgraney / East Clare e.g. literary heritage, war of independence, famine history, industrial heritage, biodiversity heritage, waterways heritage, musical heritage. Further details in Appendix C.
20 Architectural Approach Artist’s The architectural approach sees the development of Impression public space that achieves an ease of connection between only St Cronan’s Church, Tuamgraney Castle, The Handball club and the Parish House. 6 The development of the Parish House 8 proposes the full retention of all 7 existing activities of this building and the development of additional activities 9 such as Café (with frontage to both the courtyard and the road), and multi-use rooms which can be used for exhibition and community uses. 4 5 The courtyard proposed to the rear of the 2 Parish House allows the holding of a variety 3 of events and a place of gathering. The assembly of religious, historic, community 1 and sporting uses on the one location is truly unique and offers a notable opportunity in the development of a community and tourism hub for Tuamgraney. The proposed development of the public realm by way of opening up the front gardens to the existing properties will present a very positive aspect to those entering Tuamgraney and achieves a sense of place and activity. Artist’s Impression only 1 2 8
21 1 Walkway Bridge connecting 4 Exhibition space within castle 7 Existing Parish House: proposed St. Cronan’s and the Castle Café/ Meetings/Shop & Toilets 5 Future rooftop viewing area 2 Enhanced riverside space created 8 Exhibition and multi-use space 6 Boundary wall removed to create 3 Timber screening to create more a new public realm 9 Courtyard multi-use space natural backdrop for castle Artist’s Impression only 8 6 7 9 3 5 4 Artist’s Impression only
22 126.96.36.199 RECOMMENDATION 3 This Study has examined this concept further and Explore further the potential of the development endorses it but on the basis that it should strive to be a of a National Handball Museum / Experience national handball experience rather than just a handball (Phase 2) museum. It should provide elements of history but also The Lough Derg Heritage Audit (2011) recommended seek to give the visitor an experience of the game through that without interfering with its playing function that exhibitions and / or trying the game. the 60x30 handball alley in Tuamgraney could have a dual function as a handball museum as well as providing Potential for GAA support for this should be explored as demonstrations on how this traditional game is played. while handball features in the GAA museum in Dublin it does not do so in a significant way nor is it in a handball It suggested that the front wall of the 60x30 court could setting. A national handball experience does not exist be used to project a short documentary about the history anywhere else in the country and therefore this could of handball in Ireland. A documentary on handball and be a unique attraction particularly if coupled with the its history featuring in part Tuamgraney has already other elements within Zone 1. Handball is the only been produced and it may be possible to acquire and true international GAA sport with the World Handball edit this at a relatively low cost. Projection and sound Championships rotating between Canada, America and considerations would also be examined as part of any Ireland. The potential therefore exists also to bring this interpretive framework. It is anticipated these could be international dimension to life. provided without an excessive cost and a viewing gallery already exists in the ball alley. The design intent and concept is to not interfere with the function and vibrancy of the existing club but to explore how to engage the visitor in a handball experience, to allow observation and to, where appropriate, undertake exhibition of the sport.
23 Tuamgraney 60x30 Handball alley It is acknowledged that as part of exploring this concept The Study recommends the following: that potential operational issues would have to be • Subject to the agreement of the club explore in examined. As the handball club itself is focused on more detail the potential for a National Handball coaching and playing it is not anticipated nor expected Experience. This is not intended to interfere with that it would be the main driver of such a project if it playing activities. GAA Handball Council to be were to emerge but rather that it embrace and facilitate consulted and encouraged to participate. the concept. • Over time, scope out with the Club the elements of the current space to see what features could be It is also recommended if Phases 2 and 3 proceed to refurbished or interpreted in imaginative ways to address the visual impact of the existing 60x30 alley on add value to the experience. Ensuring there is an the background view of Tuamgraney Castle. The erection ‘experiential’ aspect to a visit to the Club would be a of a large timber screening is visualised in order to create distinct advantage for example seeing an exhibition a more positive backdrop to the castle. This would also match, being taught to hit a handball, hearing and present an opportunity for enhanced signage for the seeing the ‘legends’ that have commanded these handball club. alleys down the years; • Tastefully screen the facade of the 60x30 alley from the roadside perspective to offer a better backdrop to the Castle. In summary, this project could be delivered at a relatively modest cost and would appear to align with the undiscovered points of interest that should be central to the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands Tourism brand. Tuamgraney’s Pat Kirby, 1970 World Handball Champion
24 188.8.131.52 RECOMMENDATION 4 Explore the restoration of Tuamgraney Castle to allow access for visitors (Phase 3) The castle tower is well constructed with some fine stone details throughout. There is substantial repair required to the tower to permit it be used for access and viewing. An initial survey is proposed to review the condition of the external façade from the perspective of soundness and safety. The initial conservation works would look at repair to the stairway to first floor level, repair to openings generally and the conservation of the ground level vault which has the potential to accommodate an element of exhibition. A full bat survey and assessment would be required prior to any works being carried out. Tuamgraney Castle therefore while in need of notable conservation and repair can be made capable of incorporating an element of exhibition to the ground floor vault. Initial ideas centre on the interpretation of MacLysaght’s ‘Surnames of Ireland’. The longer-term vision for the castle is its extensive repair with restoration of stairs and providing access to upper levels including roof level to achieve views over Tuamgraney and the East Clare countryside including Lough Derg. The Study recommends the following: • In partnership with and subject to the agreement of the landowner (MacLysaght family) examine how best to a) make the building as safe as possible b) explore opening the modest ground floor space possibly to house a unique interactive presentation on clans, genealogy and surnames of Ireland and c) technically investigate opening up the upper floor of the Castle with its commanding views over to Lough Derg. • Seek funding for a conservation and repair Study to determine scope of works necessary to allow the building to be accessible. • Investigate the hosting of an O’Grady clan rally to raise the profile of the project and explore, for example, the potential of crowd funding. Tuamgraney Castle
25 Killaloe Approach Road, Tuamgraney 184.108.40.206 RECOMMENDATION 5 Undertake public realm enhancement works in front of Zone 1 The public realm generally refers to all areas between buildings such as roads, footpaths and other spaces that are in public ownership. The area in front of Zone 1 extending up to the Memorial Park is an important consideration for the successful development of Zone 1 and the village generally. This area lies within the Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) for 3.1.2 Tuamgraney and it is recommended that Clare County Conclusion Council, subject to funding, advance an enhancement This study concludes there is significant potential in scheme for this location having respect to the preliminary Zone 1 and the proposed phased approach is both proposals in this study. In addition to helping highlight a sustainable and realistic. Zone 1 has the potential in sense of arrival to Zone 1, any scheme should also aim to time to be a signature discovery point in the new slow down traffic at this key location. Finally, the scheme Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and given the advances should ensure continuity of car parking for existing made with this study may be considered as a suitable residential and community properties. pilot project for the rollout of this new brand. 220.127.116.11 RECOMMENDATION 6 Examine the potential of the tourism Zoned lands to rear of site Into the longer term examine the potential of opening up some of the tourism Zoned privately owned land to the rear of the Parish House to facilitate additional parking and possibly creation of a sustainable community enterprise. The Study recommends that this investigation should be done in full consultation with the landowner. Potential means of access, subject to landowners agreement
26 3.2 Zone 2 Recommendations 3.2.1 Tourism Infrastructure 1. Support the expansion of existing and the 2. Support the expansion of visitor accommodation development of new craft and related enterprises in Tuamgraney in Tuamgraney Even with its abundance of natural and heritage It is the small micro businesses in the community assets there remains considerable work to be done that will lead on bringing in visitors, increasing addressing the lack of basic tourism infrastructure tourist expenditure in the community and generating especially accommodation. The exceptions to this employment. Tuamgraney has a long tradition include the high quality Fáilte Ireland approved of quality crafts with Wilde Irish Chocolates and Clareville House B&B in the village and the well- McKernan’s Woollen Mills both in existence in the used self-catering accommodation in the East Clare village over 20 years. Both have plans to grow their Golf Village in Bodyke. Tuamgraney and East Clare offering to visitors and this should be supported has to increase dwell time by the visitor, as it will by the various development agencies. Tuamgraney especially benefit from overnighting visitors. Planning should position itself as a location for additional Permission exists for a new hotel and leisure centre craft enterprises given its central location and the in Tuamgraney (Site Zoned Tourism TOU 2). The potential for synergy with existing operators and construction of this hotel would be of enormous emerging proposals in Zone 1. On-going work should benefit to tourism in East Clare and the proposals include networking, cross selling, training and the for Zone 1 if implemented would help sustain such a identification of gaps in the provision of commercial facility and vice versa. services. It would be desirable to see the development of a formal commercial network of operators and 3. Support the widening of the food offering businesses in the village. Within the new Ireland’s in Tuamgraney Hidden Heartlands, Tuamgraney has significant Nuala’s Bar and Restaurant is an award winning food potential to be a key destination for artisan crafts. establishment in Tuamgraney serving both locals and visitors. This Study endorses widening the food offering in the locality with an emphasis on fresh and local. The village would also benefit from the presence of a coffee shop / cafe to serve both visitor and local trade and the potential for this is included in Zone 1. Clareville House B&B, Tuamgraney
1916 Centenary Commemoration at 27 East Clare Memorial Park’ 3.2.2 3.2.3 Festivals & Events Recreation & Amenities 4. Build on success of existing festivals in Tuamgraney 7. Develop a walking and recreational plan The Tuamgraney Community Weekend was There are a number of existing walks and amenities established in 2012 and occurs each June Bank in the Tuamgraney / Scariff area e.g. Tuamgraney Holiday Weekend. It is a family focused weekend Community Woodland, Scariff Riverside Park. There and has potential to grow to attract more day visitors. would be a benefit to both communities coming The Lough Derg 5k / 10k run is a welcome addition together to examine opportunities for expanding to the calendar of events in recent years. There is a walks with the support of Clare Local Development particular opportunity to build themes around the Company (CLDC) and Clare County Council. strengths and identity of Tuamgraney including Improvements to these amenities are of benefit to heritage, literary, genealogy, handball and its riverside the local community (health and wellness) and location. The Blossom Harp Festival Weekend was visitors (things to do). These initiatives and others established in 2016 and takes place on Palm Sunday outlined below will be essential to develop to ensure Weekend each year. It is an enjoyable weekend of alignment with the new Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands dance and music with harp, fiddle and set dancing tourism Brand. workshops, a harp-makers exhibition and it attracts participants from all over the Country. There is 8. Derive a greater benefit from Tuamgraney’s riverside significant potential for this festival to grow and setting and the Lough Derg Blueway develop. In addition to bringing this theme into festivals and events there is potential to harness the benefits of the 5. Develop a calendar of events recently launched Lough Derg Blueway. In particular A calendar of events for Tuamgraney and adjoining Waterways Ireland should be encouraged to install communities will help with improving overall a slip way for small boats, SUP’s and canoes etc. at inter-village coordination. The aim should be to Reddan’s Quay. The start-up of Derg Boat Trips from sustainably grow the festival and events offering over Scariff Harbour in 2018 is a welcome development. the coming ten years. As Tuamgraney is a well located Shannonside village, it should benefit from the continued growth of 6. Support greater use of East Clare Equestrian Centre navigation on the Shannon. In summary, there has as a multi-purpose event space. been a 10% per annum growth in cruise hire sector The East Clare Equestrian Centre is a large indoor for the last 3 years (including 2017), while private arena that also houses a well-attended car boot sale boating continues to increase with 8,500 boats now each Sunday. The building has significant untapped on the system. potential as an event space.
28 Tuamgraney Community Woodland 3.2.4 Enhance the Built Environment However, despite this impressive growth, boating 11. Enhance the use and appearance of capacity is currently underutilised in both Scariff the East Clare Memorial Park Harbour and Reddan’s Quay (35 boat capacity). The East Clare Memorial Park opened in 1952 is a There is likely a perception abroad that there is garden of remembrance to the War of Independence. little to do or see on land. This is best addressed by It is beautifully maintained by Tuamgraney continued product / facilities enhancement coupled Development Association and is often commented with heightened marketing and public relations. upon favourably by Tidy Town’s adjudicators. It is recommended that it be further enhanced as a 9. Explore the potential of forest based ‘signature’ piece of open space with the support outdoor adventure activities of Clare County Council given its historical It is recommended to explore the significant potential significance and in particular, its central location in of developing forest based outdoor adventure play Tuamgraney and on the Lough Derg driving route. e.g. zip wire, adventure play zones and eco discovery There is potential in time to tell the story of the park to add to the educational and outdoors appeal War of Independence in East Clare in the proposed of the village to complement the heritage offering. enhanced Parish House in Zone 1 and thus create a Not only could this open up new markets, but it link between the two locations. could also help extend the tourist season. This should be explored further with private or state owners 12. Eliminate derelict sites and property in the village (Coillte). Tuamgraney is largely free of vacant and derelict sites and properties but the exceptions- either side of the 10. Explore the provision of additional facilities “old hall” and Dun Carrig are taking seriously from for families an otherwise attractive village. Clare County Council A small amount of play equipment would be a is encouraged to work with these owners and the welcome addition to the village. The Memorial local community to see these return to beneficial Park should be explored as a suitable location for use. It is essential that these issues are addressed in some suitable pieces of play equipment the design, the short term. They present an opportunity for infill materials and scale would need to be carefully chosen development that will enhance the village. and located to fit with the character of the park and would require further consultation with all relevant stakeholders. Consider also enhancing and expanding on picnic areas for families and leisure cyclists.
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