Plans to transform one of the country’s most iconic monuments into a tourist attraction are proceeding, following a €35,000 grant from Cork County Council.
Negotiated by the former county mayor, Barbara Murray, the funding, along with €15,000 from the former Youghal Town Council, will fund a period design strategy for the interior of the town’s 337-year-old Clock Gate tower as a prelude to its re-opening for public access.
The work will be conducted by Scroope Design, Cork, whose previous projects include Kilmainham Gaol Museum. The firm is under contract to the Youghal Socio-Economic Development Group, a project management organisation and to whom the monument is leased on a 99-year agreement by the county council.
The project follows major restoration of the monument’s external and internal infrastructure last year. The designers will undertake research, scripting, illustrating and sourcing of materials to facilitate a four-storey installation, with each floor displaying replica scenes of a period in its history.
Negotiations to secure matched funding for the €130,000 fitting out and audial installation are ongoing with Fáilte Ireland. It is hoped to commence one-hour guided tours by mid-2016.
A documentary film featuring John McGrath, who resided with his family in the tower, is also to be shot for use to promote the tours nationally and abroad.
YSEDG manager Aileen Murray says the monument’s regeneration coincides with Fáilte Ireland’s strategy to target the expanding “culturally curious” market.
YSEDG director Mary Linehan-Foley describes the imminent reopening as “a credit to excellent co- operation between various individuals, organisations and the former town council”.
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