*PHOTOGRAPH: Eamon Ward
An upgrade to the visitor experience centre at the Vandeleur Walled Garden Centre will also offer opportunities for economic growth and employment in the Kilrush area.
Approximately €3.44 million is being invested on the renovation, enhancement and upgrade of the visitor experience at the Vandeleur Walled Gardens. Funding is being provided through the Department of Rural and Community Development’s RRDF and Clare County Council.
Planned works include the renovation of the derelict stables into a new visitor experience comprising of museum, interpretation, retail opportunities and general enhancement of access to the centre.
Chief Executive of Clare County Council, Pat Dowling outlined, “The investment in Vandeleur will have wider benefits to the area and town of Kilrush offering more amenity and recreational options and opportunities for economic growth and employment in the region”.
Nestled in Coillte Woodland, the Walled Gardens and Stables form part of what was known as Kilrush House which was destroyed by fire in the 1890s. The gardens were redeveloped in 1997 leading to the growth of the site.
Originally due to go to tender in the summer with works to commence soon after, it remains to be seen what impact COVID-19 will have on the planned development. The design team is comprised of Paddy Coleman & Associates, Moloney Fox Consulting, Rogerson Reddan and John Ruddle Consulting who is managing the development of the visitor experience.
Chairperson of Kilrush Amenity Trust, Noel Kilkenny maintained the investment showed a commitment from the local authority to key tourism and retail projects in the county. “The development of Kilrush in tandem with the investment in Loop Head keeps West Clare firmly on the map for visitors. The Gardens have continued to develop over the years and thanks to staff dedication and support from Board members of the Trust are primed and ready for this exciting expansion”.