Government funding of almost €2 million will give Kilrush a head start in establishing itself as a national tourist attraction, according to Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey.

He was speaking after €190,000 was awarded for the conservation and redevelopment of Terret Lodge at the entrance to the historic Vandeleur Estate as a heritage and genealogy centre.

It was one of six projects selected to share in a €1million allocation from the Government’s Historic Towns Initiative (HTI) after local authorities were invited to propose projects for heritage-led regeneration in one historic town in their area.

The €190,000 award follows the allocation of €1,720,000 for more significant restoration work on the Vandeleur Estate from the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. This project will include a new museum and the development of arts and crafts facilities to promote local heritage.

“As chairman of the Oireachtas committee on rural and community affairs, I am delighted that Kilrush will benefit from two significant Government allocations which will strengthen the local economy. It shows that funding for strategic projects is being made available to support the Government’s commitment to this region,” Deputy Carey said.

“A town seeking to benefit from the HTI should possess significant cultural and heritage assets and have a distinctive sense of place. Priority is given to projects that are likely to make a meaningful contribution to the heritage-led regeneration of the town and there is no doubt but that Kilrush meets this criteria.

“The internationally recognised practice of heritage-led regeneration shows that heritage can be used to create a desirable place where people can live, visit and do business. Heritage-led regeneration brings economic benefits to enable historic towns like Kilrush prosper through increased visitor numbers.

“It is vital that we continue to build resilience in rural communities and make our towns and villages vibrant places for families to live. It is also particularly appropriate, with Brexit approaching, that we continue to strengthen the rural economy and support sustainable development,” Deputy Carey concluded.

CAPTION: Deputy Joe Carey with Heritage Minister Josepha Madigan.