€1.2bn culture drive focus on Dead Zoo, Skellig Michael and Gaeltacht
The 'Dead Zoo' and 'Star Wars Island' are both to benefit from the Government's 10-year €1.2bn culture plan.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan launched 'Investing In Our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018-2027'.
The Natural History Museum will undergo construction work adding a new wing to ensure the institution, built in 1856, remains "a museum of a museum".
Housing 10,000 exhibits, it will also link up with the National Museum of Ireland on Kildare Street via a walkway so patrons can wander from one to the other.
Skellig Michael is one of several historical sites and monuments which will receive funding for conservation.
Other sites include the Rock of Cashel, Valentia Cable Station, Clonmacnoise and the three Neolithic tombs of Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth.
The Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the islands have been labelled as a priority project in the 10-year culture plan and will receive funding of €178m.
This includes creating 1,000 new jobs annually through Údaras na Gaeltachta and investing €105m in the Gaeltacht.
A new flagship Irish language centre will be established in Dublin to encourage people to speak Irish. Smaller hubs will be placed in towns and cities around the country.
The National Concert hall auditorium will be revamped with an increase of seats. The Abbey Theatre has ambitious plans to extend the theatre down to Eden Quay, and the Irish Film Board is to be renamed Screen Ireland and receive €200m investment.
A total of €15m will go towards supporting Galway European Capital of Culture 2020.