Ireland's 'Ancient East' gets €11.5m tourism push

Hoping to recreate Wild Atlantic Way's success...

Fáilte Ireland has announced €11.5 million in funding for 10 key projects in Dublin and within Ireland's "Ancient East" region.

The investment will include the creation of a new museum and viewing platform in The Record Tower at Dublin Castle, with money also being pumped into the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, the Rock of Cashel, Knowth, Newgrange and more.

Patrick O'Donovan, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport said:

“Our history and culture are a big part of our tourism offering and I am delighted to see Fáilte Ireland and the OPW working so closely together to improve some of our key heritage sites and making them much more accessible to visitors.

"If tourism is to sustain growth into the longer term, we need to continually upgrade and enhance the experience on the ground and today’s funding will very much help us do that.”

The full list of projects funded today includes:

  • The Record Tower, Dublin Castle - €3m
  • Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre - €2.58m
  • Rock of Cashel - €1.78m Knowth - €1.4m
  • Newgrange - €1m
  • Ormond Castle, Co Tipperary - €585k
  • King John’s Castle, Carlingford - €400k
  • Glendalough, Co Wicklow – €349k
  • The Phoenix Park (tourism and amenity study) - €300k
  • Boyne Valley (Interpretation Masterplan) - €120k

Launched last year, 'Ireland's Ancient East' was devised to deliver an extra 600,000 overseas visitors to the region and increase visitor revenue by almost 25% to €950m by 2020.

It stretches from Newgrange and the Boyne Valley in the north-east, through the midlands and down Kilkenny's Medieval mile to Waterford's Viking Quarter, as well as including some of Cork's cultural attractions.

The initiative is crafted along four pillars:

Ancient Ireland - The Dawn of Civilisation (including the prehistoric attractions of the Boyne Valley in Newgrange and sites such as the Brownshill Dolmen in Carlow)

Early Christian Ireland (including sites such as Clonmacnoise, Glendalough, Mellifont abbey, Jerpoint Abbey, St. Canice’s Cathedral and Holycross Abbey)

Medieval Ireland (including Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile, the Viking Quarter in Waterford, Hook Head Lighthouse, Trim Castle and the Rock of Cashel)

Anglo Ireland (including Ireland’s Great Houses and Gardens as well as sites such as the Dunbrody Famine Ship and Wicklow Gaol)

Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe told Newstalk last year that while there are similarities to the Wild Atlantic Way, the campaign is targeting other travelers.

Paul Keeley from Fáilte Ireland's Paul Keeley added that tourists were currently only passing through on their way to the west of Ireland: