Community and tourism groups are being invited to have their say on a draft development plan on how best to manage Holy Island.
The historical site in Lough Derg, which dates back back to the 7th Century, is regarded as one of the most important monastic sites in the country and became publicly owned in 2015.
The third consultation with local groups will take place at the Mountshannon Community Hall at 7pm tomorrow night.
Senior Planner with Clare County Council, Brian McCarthy has been telling Clare FM’s Morning Focus a lot of work has been on-going behind the scenes with consultants.
In June 2015, Clare County Council acquired 41 acres on Holy Island which, together with the 2 acres already in the ownership of the Office of Public Works (OPW), resulted in the entire island being brought into public ownership for the first time.
Dublin-based Solearth Architecture was subsequently engaged by the Local Authority to prepare proposals in relation to improving access to the island and the provision of tourism facilities on or near the island, as well as proposals on the marketing and promoting of the Island as a visitor destination, while confirming its historical significance and protecting its built and natural heritage. A Draft Plan has now been produced and will be presented at tomorrow’s event.
The purpose of the upcoming event is to outline details of the Draft Plan, the purpose of which is to both maintain and protect the cultural heritage and natural assets of the island and also develop opportunities for local economic development.
Dating back to the 7th century, the island is one of the most important historical and ecclesiastical sites in Ireland, and it has important links to Brian Ború. Buildings on the island include a 24-metre high Round Tower, an Oratory, and a number of churches.
Holy Island is on the UNESCO world heritage site tentative list for Ireland as an early medieval monastic site along with Clonmacnoise, Durrow, Glendalough, Kells and Monasterboice.
The preparation of the Draft Visitor Management and Sustainable Tourism Development Plan for Holy Island has incorporated consultation with key stakeholders including the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Waterways Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, and local tourism, community and angling organisations.
Clare County Council has also engaged with the OPW as joint landowners and the body responsible for the historic monuments on Holy Island during the Plan preparation process.
Written submissions are also invited from stakeholders on the Draft Plan from Friday 24th March to 21st April 2017 inclusive.
Submissions should be made to the Planning Department, Clare County Council, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare, before the deadline of 4.00 p.m. on Friday, 21st April.
The Draft Plan will be available to view online here at the Killaloe Municipal District Office in Scarriff, Áras Contae an Chláir in Ennis, and at Killaloe, Tulla and Ennis libraries.
For further information on the upcoming public consultation, please contact the Solearth Architecture office on 01 4005790.