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Saturday 3 December 2016

3D Vikings and celtic trees to feature in €1m Ancient East tourism drive drive

Minister Paschal Donohue
Minister Paschal Donohue

Celtic trees, 3D Vikings and long out-of-date food are just some of the ideas being funded under the next stage of Ireland's Ancient East.

Ten counties are to share in €1m that is being allocated to build and develop a range of new tourist attractions that will tell the country's story through tapestries, on the water and in visitor centres.

Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe will today announce that grants are available for the 'New Ideas in Ancient Spaces' project, bringing the total spend on the initiative to €2.26m.

Failte Ireland wants to recreate the success of the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast with a history and heritage trail that stretches along the eastern side of the country from Carlingford, Co Louth, down through Newgrange and the Boyne Valley to Cork.

Among the more eye-catching initiatives getting funding is a 3D Viking experience for Waterford.

It will complement existing tourist access to Reginald's Tower, and brings a new dimension to Waterford's Viking Triangle.

Visitors are being promised an epic voyage from Norway, an attack on an Irish monastery, the founding of Waterford and the impact of the Vikings on Ireland's history and culture.

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In Meath, 'Ireland's Ancient Eats' will provide an immersive food experience that tells the story of traditional methods for food production in Ireland.

Three separate projects in Cork will share nearly €290,000. The largest single grant is for the Clockgate Tower in Youghal. It will result in a permanent interpretative exhibition over four floors of the clock tower. The visitor will be able handle goods, ledgers, sit in a cell, listen to the sounds of street brawls and rebellion, manipulate models, ask and answer questions and engage directly with the storytellers. An audio-visual companion will enhance the experience for those who don't speak English.

Heritage trails are to be established in Laois, Cobh, Wexford, Tipperary and Monaghan.

Mr Donohoe said the projects will help "maintain the momentum of this initiative and build on the impressive tourism assets we have in the east and south of the country".

"As this project evolves and grows, I am confident that it will be a perfect complement to the Wild Atlantic Way in the west, and that it will generate significant additional visitors, revenue and tourism jobs in the east," he added.

The funding comes as Failte Ireland prepares to install around 100 'Ireland's Ancient East' orientation signs and 300 county boundary signs across the region in 2016.

Failte Ireland's Paul Keeley said they will deliver first-class experiences to visitors during summer 2016.

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