Fáilte Ireland has announced funding of €640,000 into the Norman Heritage Park, a major new visitor attraction in Granard, Co. Longford.
The investment was welcomed by Minister of State for the OPW and Flood Relief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran T.D.
The Fáilte Ireland investment of €640,000 in the park comes under its Grants Scheme for Large Tourism Projects 2016-2020. This adds to the investment of almost €3m announced for the project by the Department of Rural and Community Development earlier this year through its Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
The project has been driven by Granard Motte Community Enterprise CLG (GMCE) and Longford County Council, with support from the Office of Public Works (OPW).
The state-of-the-art visitor attraction will be a “huge asset for Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands,” according to Minister Moran, as it will become “Ireland’s only authentically recreated Norman village that brings the story of Ireland under the Normans to life”.
The village will provide an immersive experience for visitors that will transport them back 800 years to experience how the people of that era lived, worked and played. The experience will be brough to life through live acting, as well as augmented and virtual reality technology.
Major features of the attraction will include a fully accessible recreated Norman ship, a ‘treasure tunnel,’ and buildings across the park ranging from a banqueting hall to a typical family home.
Minister Moran said: “This idea, from conception to securing funding, has been a great example of the public sector and communities coming together to create a brilliant attraction for visitors and locals alike.”
Head of Attractions at Fáilte Ireland, Mary Stack, said: “The Norman Heritage Park is an example of a unique attraction that has the capacity to be a game-changer for Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and which will stand out in the international marketplace.”
Fr. Simon Cadam, Chair of Granard Motte Community Enterprise CLG (GMCE), said: “Granard is home to the highest Norman motte in Ireland, commanding spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and this new attraction will transform the visitor experience here. Vitally, it will help to create jobs in our local area and that has been a key driver for us in the Granard Motte Community Enterprise.”