KIllarney National Park Welcomes Development at Killarney House
May 19, 2012
In recognition of its potential as a significant tourism asset funding of €5.2 million under Fáilte Ireland's Tourism Capital Investment Programme is being provided towards the overall cost of the restoration of Killarney House and its Pleasure Grounds and Gardens. The total cost of the project is €7.1m (the balance of funding to be provided by the National Parks and Wildlife Service).
Minister Varadkar said the project would bring enormous economic and cultural benefits to the area: ‘This will be a landmark tourist attraction which will create jobs, stimulate the local economy and boost the tourism industry in the region.
Minister Deenihan said that the overall value of this project will be in excess of €10m and he welcomed the Fáilte Ireland contribution. He said that “Killarney House which was acquired by the State in 1998 through the generosity of the McShain family, is a building of significant architectural and historic importance that requires a programme of sensitive repair and refurbishment and significant investment. This capital investment means that in addition to restoration works, an interpretative centre for Killarney National Park can be developed in the premises, highlighting one of Ireland’s most spectacular and ecologically important natural environments. The National Parks and Wildlife Service can be proud of the work that it has done in advancing this project.” &nb sp;
But the house will also be developed as a visitor centre in its own right, with some of the formal rooms being restored, used to display its valuable collection of antiques, and to tell the story of the house and its inhabitants.
The visitor centre will include state-of-the-art technology in a new extension, including an audio visual room, exhibition space for temporary exhibitions and cultural events. The former pleasure grounds and gardens around the house will also be restored to their former glory. The project has been approved for funding by the Fáilte Ireland Authority, subject to compliance with a number of specific requirements prior to the signing of a grant contract.
In preparation for its full restoration Minister Deenihan said that work will start very soon on the first phase of works which will safeguard the structural integrity of the House. The Minister has set aside €500,000 this year for the work.
Speaking at the announcement, Minister Varadkar said: ‘Tourism is central to the Government’s plans for economic recovery and job creation, and the industry sustains 180,000 jobs across the country. So it’s a pleasure to announce funding for such a significant project. The Tourism Capital Investment Programme administered by Failte Ireland delivers employment at all stages, from construction at the start, to servicing tourists when up and running’.
“Modern and authentic tourism attractions are essential to a town like Killarney, which depends so heavily on the industry. I expect Killarney House to deliver an immediate economic return to the area on opening. And as Minister with responsibility for tourism, I’m very happy that a magnificent asset like the Killarney National Park will finally have its own interpretative centre.”
Minister Deenihan thanked Minister Varadkar and Fáilte Ireland for their support and said “ I am delighted that the future of Killarney House is finally being settled”.
“Conscious of the significant public support for its restoration and the essential economic and social benefits that there would be for Killarney I have given this project the highest priority. The National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department has been working intensively with OPW and Fáilte Ireland on the development of the appropriate restoration programme having regard to the location, importance and history of the House and its grounds. The National Parks and Wildlife Service is of course already doing great work at Muckross and in managing the wider National Park which is the jewel in Killarney's crown.
We now have a clear vision of what the House, pleasure grounds and gardens can become and I am confident that we can now optimise the potential of Killarney House as a top class visitor and tourism centre while respecting its status as a heritage property managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.” span>