Year-round opening for Connemara National Park announced

Pictured at the announcement of the year-round opening of the Visitor Centre at Connemara National Park are Denis Strong, western divisional manager NWPS, Cllr Eileen Mannion, Sean Kyne Minister of State for Gaeilge, The Gaeltacht and the Islands and Cameron Clotworthy, district officer NWPS. Photo Aoife Herriott

Pictured at the announcement of the year-round opening of the Visitor Centre at Connemara National Park are Denis Strong, western divisional manager NWPS, Cllr Eileen Mannion, Sean Kyne Minister of State for Gaeilge, The Gaeltacht and the Islands and Cameron Clotworthy, district officer NWPS. Photo Aoife Herriott

Connemara National Park Visitor Centre is to remain open all year round, for the first time in its near 40 year history, it was announced this week, and the park is also set for major development in the coming years.

The Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Irish language, Gaeltacht, and the Islands, Seán Kyne, welcomes the announcement. “The park has long been one of the major tourist attractions in the west of Ireland and I am delighted it is set to develop,” he said. “Visitors will be able to get the full experience at this beautiful and iconic site throughout the entire year and this will create even more opportunities for visitors to explore and spend longer in Connemara.”

The park, which opened in 1980, attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year, while 2019 saw an increase in visitor numbers this year of nearly five per cent from last year. The opening of the Diamond Hill walks, and the interest in the Wild Atlantic Way, has prompted a steady increase in visitor numbers in recent years, which led to an increased demand for year-round opening.

In December 2018, Fáilte Ireland announced funding for the park of €1.9 million. This will allow for the development of a new car park and additional looped walks on the Mweelin/Kylemore side of park. This year saw the signing of an international twinning agreement with Terra Nova National Park in Newfoundland, Canada.

Minister Kyne was in Connemara National Park on Tuesday to raise the Green Flag, for the second successive year. The Green Flag for Parks Scheme Award is the mark of a quality park or green space. The Minister paid tribute to the NPWS staff in the park on their continuing to achieve internationally recognised awards for sustainability and best practice.

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