€5m quay museum plan
Exciting developments for town as new €150m fund ideally suited for museum development on the quay
A planning application for the development of a landmark building in New Ross into a museum has been submitted to Wexford County Council ahead of a funding application to an unprecedented €150m Fáilte Ireland tourism programme.
The JFK Trust lodged the application in late May for the change of use from retail to a museum and visitor centre at 20 and 21 the Quay, (Murphy's furniture buildings).
There are plans to develop a museum and tourist centre in association with the JFK Trust, which would involve an upgrade of the Dunbrody Visitor Centre and the purchase of the Murphy building, which would be refurbished. The development has the full backing of Wexford County Council whose economic department is on board with funding to advance the project.
An application was initially due to be lodged with Fáilte Ireland in early 2017 but the funding round was delayed and applications are now only be accepted ahead of a July 17 deadline.
Mr Connick said one of the requirements for applying for the Platforms for Growth initiative is to have planning permission in place by July 17, so there is an urgency in making the planning application to Wexford County Council.
He confirmed that the JFK Trust will be making an application for the Platforms for Growth initiative as soon as possible. A conceptual design for the Murphy building centre has been completed by CHL, a Dublin based architects company who designed the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, but a more detailed design of the interior of the Murphy building is required.
The museum will link the quay to South Street, bringing tourists into the town centre.
Mr Connick said the Platforms for Growth initiative suits the museum plan as its first plank is for 'Immersive Heritage and Cultural Attractions'.
Major new visitor attractions of scale will be developed under the plan, along with existing attractions greatly enhanced through Platforms for Growth, with Fáilte Ireland making individual grants available for large-scale visitor attractions of €2.5million upwards.
Platforms for Growth is funded under the Government's Project Ireland 2040 strategy with the aim of driving sustainable growth in the Irish tourism sector and higher revenue and job creation around Ireland. It is unlike any previous investment announced by Fáilte Ireland, as it specifically targets 'platforms' or projects that have the greatest potential to grow tourism across Ireland, and fill gaps in the Irish tourism offering in order to meet changing visitor preferences.
Through this approach, Platforms for Growth will pave the way for large-scale and transformative attractions that will become key motivators to visit an area. In turn, this will step-change the economic value of tourism in the area through increased visitor numbers, revenue and job creation, a Fáilte Ireland spokesperson said.
The first 'Platform' launched on Wednesday focused on developing Immersive Heritage and Cultural Attractions.
'Overseas visitors are increasingly seeking out more hands-on experiences which bring local culture and heritage to life, and this platform will invest in projects that deliver innovative and interactive experiences for the visitor to 'immerse' themselves in. Further platforms will be announced over the course of the programme.'
The two large tourism projects in the New Ross district which are due for expansion are the Dunbrody Visitor Centre and Hook Lighthouse.
The lighthouse development is expected to cost around €7 and is tied in with the Irish National Heritage Park. Manager Ann Waters said the county's most visited tourist attraction will not be included in the Platforms for Growth initiative, as it is tied in with the Rural Regeneration Fund so an announcement on the exciting plans for the lighthouse is not likely to be made until late this year or in 2020.
Fáilte Ireland's CEO, Wexford man Paul Kelly said: 'Driving growth in the regions through tourism is a core focus of our work at Fáilte Ireland and having top-class visitor attractions and experiences is an integral part of this. At Fáilte Ireland, we are currently working on over 50 large capital projects throughout Ireland that will significantly enhance the Irish tourism offering as they open in the coming four years. Creating a more regional spread of visitors is central to our capital investment strategy and through Platforms for Growth new attractions across the country will be developed and existing ones transformed.'
There is a clear criteria governing investment under Platforms for Growth which are based on strategic importance, potential for economic growth and job creation in communities across the country, as well as driving innovation and sustainability in the sector, he said.
New Ross Standard