An area described as a unique piece of landscape has been pinpointed as a potential visitor experience site to encourage a longer dwell time for tourists in Clare whilst promoting wellness tourism.
Tullaher which includes a lough and bog special area of conservation has already been the subject of a pre-feasibility study which highlighted the potential for recreational opportunities with significant community, tourism and conservation benefits.
Identifying the next steps for the lands “as a wildlife sanctuary and nature based outdoor recreation area,” is the next challenge, Cllr Gabriel Keating (FG) detailed as he called on the local authority to do just that. The Cross native stated that the sanctuary was in the ownership of the State since 1921.
Director of Rural Development, Leonard Cleary confirmed that further analysis would be conducted. Among the areas to be explored include the development of Tullaher Bog as “a visitor experience in the West Clare area that could encourage a greater spread and longer dwell time of visitors to County Clare”.
Wellness tourism was also identified by Cleary “with visitors experiencing the associated physical and mental health benefits of being in an environment closer to nature”. Conservation for future generations, the protection of bog-based wildlife and preserving a sense of place will form part of their analysis, he said.
Reinforcing his argument, Cllr Keating stressed the tourism boost investment in Tullaher Bog would provide. “We may have been beaten to the draw on this,” he acknowledged of recent interest in the area. “A motor dealer once said when selling a good car, you don’t have to talk the talk, it speaks for itself and so does this motion. We’re on the right track in the bogland. I am glad we will work together to make it happen,” he added.
“It is a really great project,” Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) commented. “The order of the start is what matters most, conservation first and the tourism will come”.
Chief Executive of the Council, Pat Dowling told the meeting he was familiar with Tullaher. “It is a unique location and piece of landscape”. He advised that a new deal was close being agreed and that the local authority would be keen to engage with the investors.