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€1 million facelift brings Patrick Kavanagh Centre back to life in Co Monaghan

The state-of-the-art visitor experience is a fitting tribute to the poet’s life and work," the Patrick Kavanagh Centre's manager says

Monaghan Tourism has unveiled a new "jewel in its crown" - a refurbished Patrick Kavanagh Centre in the poet's native Inniskeen.

A €1 million "facelift" sees the centre transformed into an immersive "mini-museum" with displays ranging from memory boxes containing personal effects, to touch screens and a new event space.

A new website goes live today (patrickkavanaghcentre.com), with visitors welcome from Monday, July 20. Access will initially be limited to groups of five people at a time, with advance booking required.

Tickets will cost €10pp, with kids under seven going free.

“The state-of-the-art visitor experience is a fitting tribute to the poet’s life and work," according to Darren McCreesh, the centre’s manager, who said it would provide a context for exploring the local landscape.

Monaghan's "stony grey soil" inspired some of Kavanagh's most famous work - the poet grew up locally and is buried in the cemetery of the former St. Mary's Church alongside.

Exhibitions will celebrate the different stages of the poet’s life, McCreesh says, with an original short film including the voices of Oliver Callan and John McArdle.

Inniskeen's 6km Patrick Kavanagh Trail has also been updated with new signage, allowing visitors to more easily find landmarks like Billy Brennan's barn, the former homestead in Mucker, and Shancoduff.

It comes as Monaghan pitches itself as a "slow staycation" destination that may appeal to visitors looking to steer clear of crowds.

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Campaign features range from kayaking on Lough Muckno to walking on Sliabh Beagh, and another new visitor experience is expected to open at Carrickmacross Workhouse this August.

“We would like to extend an invitation to visitors from near and far and, in particular, to those who have never ventured up here before," says Eamonn O’Sullivan, chief executive of Monaghan County Council.

"There is so much more to Monaghan than you might expect."

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