#holyisland – Clare County Council has confirmed it is seeking tenders from professional experts to produce an implementation strategy for visitor management and sustainable tourism development on Holy Island.
Earlier this month, the Local Authority acquired 41 acres on the island which, together with the 2 acres already in the ownership of the Office of Public Works (OPW), has resulted in the entire island being brought into public ownership for the first time.
The successful tenderer will be required to prepare proposals in relation to improving access to Holy Island and the provision of tourism facilities on or near the Island, as well as proposals on the marketing and promoting of the Island as a visitor destination.
The preparation of the Visitor Management and Sustainable Tourism Development Plan will also incorporate a public consultation process and consultation with key stakeholders, including the Council, OPW, Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Waterways Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Inland Waterways, adjoining Local Authorities, relevant statutory bodies, and local tourism, community and angling organisations.
Dating back to the 7th century, Holy Island is one of the most important historical and ecclesiastical sites in Ireland, and it has important links to Brian Ború. Buildings on the island include a 24-metre high Round Tower, an Oratory, and a number of churches. Holy Island is on the UNESCO world heritage site tentative list for Ireland as an early medieval monastic site along with Clonmacnoise, Durrow, Glendalough, Kells and Monasterboice.
Gerard Dollard, Director of Services, Clare County Council, said: "The Visitor Management and Sustainable Tourism Development Plan will provide a framework, in consultation with key stakeholders, for tourism development and visitor management of the Island, whilst also ensuring the cultural heritage and natural assets that contribute to the Island's uniqueness are maintained and protected."
"Holy Island is very much part of the fabric of the local community and continues to be used as a burial ground. Therefore, it is essential that the overall plan provides for the future management and development of this important site but takes full cognisance of the rich archaeology, landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area. The successful tenderer will be required to consider all of these aspects in recommending a framework for the future management and development of the island," added Mr. Dollard.