• Cyril McAree

Fáilte Ireland Awards €35,000 Grant To Wexford’s Irish National Heritage Park

The history and stories behind Wexford’s Irish National Heritage Park will be brought to life thanks to a €35,000 development grant from Fáilte Ireland.

As part of its wider strategy to boost tourism and revenue across Ireland’s regions, Fáilte Ireland is providing a series of capital grants to improve the quality of animation and storytelling at existing attractions throughout Ireland’s Ancient East. Successful bids, including the Irish National Heritage Park, have been recognised for their ability to improve the quality of physical interpretation at their sites through a range of innovative resources including audio guides, video and interactive technology. The Fáilte Ireland Authority held its meeting in County Wexford, visiting key attractions in the area including Dunbrody House and Cookery School and Dunbrody Famine Ship.

Paul Kelly, Fáilte Ireland Chief Executive and native of Wexford, emphasised how the county is an integral player in the Ireland’s Ancient East brand. He said: “Fáilte Ireland wants to enhance the country’s reputation as a world-leading tourist destination and this can only be achieved by constantly developing our offer to visitors. Ireland’s Ancient East attracts visitors from across the country and overseas thanks to its rich history and storytelling and, as a proud Wexford man, I know first-hand the wealth of experiences, culture and heritage the whole county has to offer all year round. “In addition to the work Fáilte Ireland is doing with tourism businesses across Wexford, grants like this one for the Irish National Heritage Park will really help to boost the tourism offering here and, in turn, draw even more visitors into the county.” Jenny De Saulles, Head of Ireland’s Ancient East at Fáilte Ireland, said: “Visitors from around the world are increasingly expecting more interactive and hands-on ways to enjoy history and heritage – key components of our Ireland’s Ancient East brand. Development grants, like the one we’ve announced for the Irish National Heritage Park in Wexford today, are vital in ensuring our tourism offer remains strong and competitive. “One of the key aims of our Ireland’s Ancient East brand is to drive greater regional growth and a longer season for many businesses. At Fáilte Ireland, we will continue to support tourism businesses across the county to develop a world-class experience for visitors from every corner of the globe.”

Speaking about how the grant will help to improve the visitor experience, Maura Bell at the Irish National Heritage Park said: "At the Irish National Heritage Park, we are delighted to receive this grant from Fáilte Ireland. It will be used to make our visitor experience and storytelling significantly more immersive with the addition of a new audio visual presentation, as well as holograms at our Viking site and a green screen to engage visitors via social media." Fáilte Ireland has identified a number of strategic objectives and priorities for Ireland’s Ancient East which are specific to using storytelling interpretation to create brilliant experiences and in turn to deliver economic benefits. These objectives are to:

  • Deliver engaging world class visitor experiences that make Ireland’s living and historical culture accessible through the use of authentic stories as a differentiator;

  • Create and deliver unique visitor experiences based on “living” the history;

  • Provide the visitor with interpretation in the first language of the target audience, i.e. in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian;

  • Increase the length of time visitors spend in Ireland’s Ancient East and the amount of money they spend there;

  • Encourage overseas visitors to stay beyond the traditional tourism season and to visit longer.

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