Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, Cllr James Charity, welcomed the recent funding allocation for Clifden and Portumna, noting that the investment would provide significant enhancement to both areas, but would also benefit the entire county.
He said that this funding of nearly €2 million, which will be matched by an investment of approximately €500,000 by the Council will provide a serious boost to both Clifden and Portumna, serving to enhance local tourism and drive inward investment into the region as a whole."
Improving the tourism offering of both areas will not only help to readily market these key towns to a wider audience both at home and abroad, but benefit the entire County as a whole. This is very welcome news for County Galway.”
Clifden and Portumna, two of Galway’s most idyllic towns, were successful in securing close to €2 million euro in funding from the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF ) administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development. The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund is a commitment by Government to invest €1 billion euro in rural Ireland over the period 2019-2027.
The applications, which have emerged as the most lucrative from a competitive national process will be key in unlocking the untapped potential in both communities and increasing inward investment and growth. The Economic, Rural and Community Development Unit and newly formed Regeneration Team in the Council will be working closely with all key stakeholders including the communities and state agencies to develop a series of projects that will deliver a range of benefits across a number of sectors.
The projects will enhance both Clifden and Portumna as emerging tourism destinations as well as warm, welcoming communities in which to live.
The funding will enable Galway County Council to develop a masterplan for the enhancement of Clifden with improvements planned to the public realm in the town centre, on Beach Road and proposals to develop the Harbour Park, a crucial amenity for the town.
It is also proposed that a remote working hub will support an increase in economic activity in the heart of Connemara, allowing time for more flexible lifestyles and a better work-life balance. This funding will enable the development of interventions which will build on the vibrancy of Clifden as a tourist destination as a hub on the Wild Atlantic Way, and increase even further its attractiveness as a place to live and invest in.
The latest announcement for Clifden is an addition to the previous funding Clifden received through Fáilte Ireland’s flagship ‘Destination Towns’ tourism programme. Fáilte Ireland, The National Parks and Wildlife Service, Connemara Chamber of Commerce and Clifden and District Community Council supported the Clifden proposal.
Kevin Kelly, Chief Executive of Galway County Council, said that Clifden holds a special place in the national imagination as a unique town in the heart of Connemara that thrives on the visitor economy through the busy tourist season.
“Galway County Council now have a unique opportunity to develop a strategic masterplan to enhance the town, public amenities and the harbour to further enhance Clifden’s appeal as a place to work, live and visit beyond the traditional tourist season.
“In the southeast of the County, €1.2 million has been allocated to Portumna from the Department where the projects will include pre-development works to conserve and restore Portumna Courthouse to its former glory and begin a new life as a community arts, enterprise and tourism hub, as well as plans to improve the public realm and streetscape in partnership with local stakeholders.
“The project will also place a strong emphasis on way-finding and interpretation to animate the burgeoning visitor experience within the town with plans to integrate Portumna’s unique heritage assets with the stunning tranquillity and scenery of Portumna Forest Park and Lough Derg,” he said.
Alan Farrell, Director of Service in Galway County Council, said that the team has proposed an ambitious plan that promotes the natural, cultural and heritage assets of Portumna. Galway County Council; working in tandem with the stakeholders and community; will reimagine and ensure that Portumna develops as a key hub to visit in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.’ He further added ‘Portumna has benefited from a multi-agency approach and current stakeholder relationships builds on Galway’s longer-term engagement with the Lough Derg Marketing Group.
“‘Portumna Vision 2030’ was initiated by Galway County Council, Fáilte Ireland and Waterways Ireland and has been closely supported by the Office of Public Works, The Department of Arts, Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Coillte and Inland Fisheries Ireland who are committed to an imaginative strategic vision for Portumna.
Mr Farrell said that Portumna has huge potential as a town and they look forward to driving the development opportunities and to continuing to work collaboratively with all their partners to achieve it, knowing that the result of the sum of their plans is far greater than the individual elements.
In addition to the funds that the Council secured for Portumna itself, it is great news that Failte Ireland also secured €300,000 funding for the development of the Beara Breifne Way under the same programme as this will also add value to the offering to the town and the region when developed.”