Fáilte Ireland Awards €2.5m In Major Funding For Tourism Projects in Dublin, Kilkenny and Sligo
Fáilte Ireland has today announced the first three visitor attractions to be awarded major funding through its Grants Scheme for Large Tourism Projects 2020, which is intended to help deliver world-class tourist experiences, boost overseas visitor growth and create jobs.
The VAULTS.LIVE® in Dublin, Kilkenny’s Butler Gallery and Sligo Pontoon Jetty are the first of 24 shortlisted projects to be awarded Delivery Grants under the scheme for implementation of their projects. The scheme provides investment to develop new, or boost existing, tourism experiences and attractions across Ireland (see note to editor for full detail on the projects and scheme). Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D. visited Evan’s Almshouse in Kilkenny today, which will become the new home to the Butler Gallery through this grant. Welcoming the funding, he said: “I’m delighted that awards are now being made under this scheme, which will help to boost visitors to the country’s regions, create jobs and growth, and help to develop local areas. This kind of investment is absolutely critical in ensuring that Ireland’s tourist attractions are world-class and that the industry is strong and sustainable into the future. I know that the funding announced today will be a major boost to VAULTS.LIVE®, the Butler Gallery and Sligo Pontoon Jetty, and I look forward to further investment in other projects around the country through the scheme.” Speaking today, Paul Kelly, Fáilte Ireland’s Chief Executive Officer emphasised: “We believe that sustainable growth in tourism will depend on greater regionality and seasonality. Investment in tourism projects like these forms one strand of Fáilte Ireland’s approach to achieving this. At the heart of successful tourism is the visitor experience and we’re committed to building great experiences for visitors to enjoy around the country and throughout the year. The interest we received in this scheme was huge and there was a very high calibre of applications. We are delighted to announce the first three projects today and this funding will help to transform what these destinations can offer visitors.” The Grants Scheme for Large Tourism Projects, which was launched in 2016 and runs up to 2020, is highly competitive and received 115 applications as part of its first call out to the public, private and voluntary sectors. Following an evaluation process, 24 tourism projects progressed to Stage 2 of the process. The two-stage application process was put in place to allow Fáilte Ireland to engage with projects at an early stage in their development and a total of €1.1m was awarded to projects to further develop their proposals. The three projects awarded Stage 2 Delivery Grants today are the first to be announced. Final decisions on Delivery Grant funding for the remaining 21 projects will be made over the course of 2018 and 2019 as they reach readiness. Welcoming the grant award, the Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr. David Fitzgerald, said: “Kilkenny is synonymous with creativity, and a place where art and design are woven into the fabric of Kilkenny’s cultural tourism offering. The relocation of the Butler Gallery to Evan’s Home is entirely in keeping with our reputation and, together with recent Fáilte Ireland supported investment along Ireland’s Medieval Mile, will deliver a transformation in the visitor experience in Kilkenny. The new Butler Gallery, the recently opened Medieval Mile Museum, and Diageo’s development of the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny, give our visitors new high quality immersive experiences, and enhance Kilkenny’s attractiveness as a hero site in Ireland’s Ancient East.” Welcoming the news for Sligo, Joe Corcoran, Project Co-ordinator at Sligo Tourist Development Association, said: “The provision of daily sailings from the new berthing facility on the Garavogue river will open up Lough Gill to many Wild Atlantic Way tourists, experiencing this much loved Yeats location, which is steeped in a rich history of folklore and stunning scenery." Capital investment is a key driver for tourism growth and the creation of jobs in the sector. It is also vital in successfully and consistently delivering world-class visitor experiences, ensuring that Ireland’s tourism industry is strong and competitive into the future. Through its range of capital investment programmes, Fáilte Ireland works with visitor sites and attractions across every region to ensure the whole country has a strong tourism offering all year round.