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Rathmullan – A Heritage Led Regeneration Project

Donegal County Council Press Release (26.04.21)

Donegal County Council in partnership with the local voluntary community group ‘Rathmullan The Way Forward’ is delighted to announce that tenders are being sought for Architect Led Full Integrated Design Team & Supervision services to deliver a heritage led regeneration project within the historic core of Rathmullan. 

The services will be procured to develop the project from its current feasibility stage through all necessary statutory consents and documentation so as to ensure progression of the project to a shovel ready status as a capital works project. In the fullness of time (subject to securing Capital Monies) the selected consultants will be required to progress the project through detailed design and construction supervision to final certification and handover.

The stage 1 development of this significant regeneration project is funded jointly by Donegal County Council and altruistic funding from The Tomar Trust, enabled by The Way Forward Group. The project is the result of a partnership between Donegal County Council and the local community through The Way Forward Group and builds on the earlier project feasibility work of the Group.

The Mayor of the Letterkenny Municipal District, Cllr. Donal Coyle said “I welcome the collaboration between Donegal County Council and The Way Forward Group, and I am looking forward to working with the Council, the community and the Design Team in the development of this exciting regeneration project for Rathmullan.”

The Project aims to strengthen and enhance the physical, cultural, social, tourism and economic capacity of the town and to act as a catalyst for increased activity within it. The project will be rooted in the principles of heritage restoration, town centre renewal and rural regeneration in transforming landmark and underutilised assets at the historic core of Rathmullan. 

Specifically the project will focus on two of the key built heritage assets in Rathmullan: The Napoleonic Gun Battery and Rathmullan Abbey both of which are Protected Structures. The renewal and repurposing of the Gun Battery and attendant lands to serve and function as a new village square ‘Battery Place’ and Museum of Atlantic Culture and Heritage ‘MACH’ will be developed as an iconic and landmark centre piece of the project. The project will also seek to explore sensitive interventions to the Abbey which will help manage public interest pressures but which will have the primary purpose of achieving further restoration and long term preservation of the structure.  It is intended to celebrate these assets as heritage bookends to a refined heritage led public realm where social purpose, economic function and sense of place are firmly re-established. The project will also include the development of a Community Hub as a unique and flexible space with digital capacities for the community, business and remote working.

Welcoming the progression of the project to this important milestone a representative of Rathmullan The Way Forward Group said:

“This heritage led regeneration project has the potential to further elevate Rathmullan  as ‘a destination in its own right’ with the related expenditure in the Town that this will bring. It will make the town a more attractive place for residents and visitors, will support and incentivise existing and prospective business and will animate the renewal of the town.”

Speaking about the project, Liam Ward, Director of Community Development and Planning Services with Donegal County Council says:

The project forms part of a broader work programme for the regeneration of the County’s rural towns led by the Councils Regeneration and Development Team. I am delighted to see the partnership confirmed with The Way Forward Group. The Council is committed to working with local communities to develop transformational regeneration projects of this nature and to drive investments in the renewal of our town centres which make a real difference to the attractiveness and liveability of our towns”.  

Johnny Nelis, Executive Architect with the Regeneration & Development Team of Donegal County Council said

we are looking for an experienced Architect Led Design Team with particular expertise in relation to architectural conservation, heritage led design and place making to develop this exciting project to the highest standards of design in line with community expectations and our regeneration ambitions.” 

Tender documents are available on and the closing date for receipt of tenders is 17th May 2021.

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