A new visitor experience at Knowth, Co. Meath, which will drive job creation and tourism recovery in the Ireland’s Ancient East region, has been officially opened by Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media Catherine Martin TD and Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) Patrick O’Donovan TD.
Fáilte Ireland has invested almost €1.4million into the new tourist attraction. Through the partnership with the National Monuments Service and the Office of Public Works which manages Knowth as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Property of Brú na Bóinne, visitors to Knowth will be welcomed for a greatly extended season for the first time.
The enhanced experience includes improved interpretation to tell the story of the history of the 50-year archaeological excavation of the site by Professor George Eogan, the significance of the site’s Megalithic art and its importance in national and international terms.
Fáilte Ireland estimates the development of the visitor experience at Knowth will support 266 additional jobs in the Meath area and generate €1.6million in additional tourism revenue over 5 years.
Commenting at the launch, Minister Catherine Martin said, “Knowth is one of the most culturally significant sites in Ireland, and indeed Europe. The new visitor experience will allow domestic and international visitors to step back in time and immerse themselves in our rich Megalithic culture. This attraction will add another unique element to the tourism offering at Brú na Bóinne, encouraging more people to visit Meath and the surrounding region, and generating significant economic impact for the area.”
Minister Patrick O’Donovan said, “thanks to this investment, we are able to further enhance the visitor experience in the Boyne Valley by providing accessible and accurate interpretation of this prestigious archaeological site. Knowth, Newgrange and the Boyne Valley region are among Ireland’s greatest cultural and tourism gems whose significance is known the world over. This is highlighted by the wonderful exhibition currently showing at the British Museum – The World of Stonehenge – where some of the exquisite finds from Knowth, on loan from the National Museum of Ireland, such as the Knowth macehead, the Knowth carved conical object and the Knowth stone vessel are on display. This shows the international reputation of this site and the objects uncovered.”
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD said, “the monumental landscape of Brú na Bóinne never fails to amaze. This fabulous new facility will add immensely to the experience for the hundreds of thousands who visit the World Heritage Property each year. We are sure that Professor George Eogan who led the excavations at Knowth over so many decades, and who passed away recently, would be proud of the beautiful interpretative display of his lifetime’s work.”
Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, added, “for tourism to recover we must have stand out attractions to entice visitors, domestic and international, to explore Ireland. I am pleased to be here at Knowth today at the opening of this significant new attraction for Meath and the wider Ireland’s Ancient East region, developed in collaboration with our strategic partners in the OPW. The new visitor experience at Knowth will attract more visitors to the region, support new jobs and has been executed in a sustainable way to ensure this historically important site is preserved for generations to come. We predict Knowth will support 266 additional jobs in the Meath area and generate €1.6million in additional tourism revenue over 5 years. It will also relieve some of the existing pressure at Newgrange by offering visitors an additional experience, as well as extending visitor dwell time in the Boyne Valley.”
Knowth, which makes up part of the UNESCO World Heritage Property of Brú na Bóinne, is a major repository of megalithic art, containing more than half of the known megalithic art in Europe in one single location.
The new Knowth visitor hub is a continuation of the upgraded Brú na Bóinne visitor experience offering a large digital exhibition exploring the rock art of Knowth and accompanied by engaging interactives and audio visuals. The investment includes toilets and an upgraded OPW parking facility to accommodate a new fleet of electric buses developed using sustainable tourism principles to minimise visitor impact to the site.
The new development forms the second phase of a three-phase investment worth €7m into Brú na Bóinne under a strategic partnership arrangement between Fáilte Ireland, the OPW and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. Previous investment included redevelopment of the visitor centre at Brú na Bóinne while the development of new visitor facilities at Newgrange will be completed in the final phase.
Source: Fáilte Ireland