Fáilte Ireland announced that €11.5m is to be invested in the refurbishment of ten key OPW sites in Dublin and within Ireland’s Ancient East region. But then of course the OPW Heritage Services work in partnership with this same Fáilte Ireland, so no great surprises here. It was simply a case of tourism revenues earned by the OPW, being given back to the OPW.
It is not really the distribution of funding that actually bothers me, after all Co Tipperary got a share; Ormond Castle were granted €585,000, while the Rock of Cashel were granted €1.78m.
Gobán Saor’s cat rapidly eroding.
Of course, the area within a 33 miles radios of Dublin’s popular O’Connell street, as usual, got the majority of funding; yes over €8m in total. This included €3m towards a new museum and viewing platform in ‘The Record Tower’ at Dublin Castle; €300,000 towards a Phoenix Park tourism and amenity study. Twenty-five miles’ away the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre got €2.58m; and thirty three miles away Newgrange got €1m and Knowth €1.4m.
This Fáilte Ireland funding announced earlier this month, when truly examined, certainly represents a true strategic partnership with the OPW, if you know what I mean. Plus, as Fáilte Ireland point out, our Irish tourism sector after all currently sustains 220,000 (minimum wage) jobs, while generating an estimated €6bn in economic value per year to the State.
As already stated, it is not really this unequal distribution of funding that actually bothers me, no my fear centres around the wanton destruction of our local unique history and culture, which provides that strong incentive in bringing people to our shores. To get to the crux of this matter perhaps I need to explain further.
Tourists who visit Ireland are not exactly attracted by our weather, rather a huge percentage of foreign visitors are incentivised to holiday on our island, because of our wild, unspoilt, scenic beauty and remarkable ancient history. While most of our history is protected in museums, much more remains totally unprotected.
Archer Tomb Date 1520. Present condition in 2017.
Here in Thurles town Co. Tipperary, alone, numerous pieces of our rich heritage lie unprotected from weather erosion. Year by year, with the passing of each season; rain, wind, frost, snow and even sunshine, all ploy and conspire to shorten and destroy the future life of centuries old rare historical artefacts. Private funding offered, to protect this heritage, are resolutely refused, however funding is being (alas to late), provided to carry out photogrammetry surveys. See HERE and HERE.
The world was outraged in May 2015 when ISIS militants destroyed some of the historic buildings in the ancient city of Palmyra, located in war-torn Syria; which in the past flourished as a Roman trading outpost around A.D. 200. While this similarity is perhaps extreme, the same situation is being allowed to happen to valuable history in rural Ireland.
Dublin not only get the employment opportunities now-a-days it would appear, but into the future, only within a 50 mile radius of our capital city, will limited history survive, courtesy of Fáilte Ireland’s neglect of rural Ireland.
We rightly worry about the disappearance of Banks, Post Offices, Garda Stations, Hospitals and Public Transport from rural Ireland, now our politicians can add tourist attractions to this ever-growing list; while into the future the actual visitor.
Incidentally, those of you who reside abroad and continue to retain close links with Thurles, Co. Tipperary, you can purchase a cast, (at reasonable cost), of the Thurles Goban Saor’s cat with two tails, shown above, from HERE. Same will ensures one hell of a talking point for visitors to your home, when hanging on your sitting-room wall.
We will be talking about this Gobán Saor’s cat in the coming days.