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Council ‘confident’ of purchase of historical island ‘Jewel of the Lough’

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A 50 acre island with links to Brian Boru is set to be bought by Clare County Council to bring the site into public ownership.

Holy Island, also known locally as the ‘Jewel of the Lough’, is situated on River Shannon’s largest lake, Lough Derg.

Cathaoirleach of the Council, Cllr John Crowe confirmed that negotiations are in advanced stages and is “confident the acquisition of this important site can be completed.”

“I briefed the Tourism Minister, Mr. Pascal Donohue, T.D., on the current status during his recent visit to Clare and I also have been in contact with the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW who already own land on the island,” he said.

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“It would be tremendous to secure public ownership of Holy Island this year, considering it is the millennial anniversary of the death of Brian Ború.”

A number of ruins and buildings standing on Holy Island date back to the 7th century, including a 24-metre high Round Tower.

The island itself is currently on the UNESCO World Heritage site tentative list as an Early Medieval Monastic site along with Clonmacnoise, Durrow, Glendalough, Kells and Monasterboice.

“We are fully aware of the significance of this location and would be anxious to see it forming part of the local tourism product and available to the wider public,” said Gerard Dollard, Director of Services, Clare County Council.

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