Granard visitor centre
proposals gather pace

A north Longford community group’s hopes of turning up to 15 acres of NAMA owned land into a visitor attraction centre stepped up a notch in recent weeks following a well attended public meeting on the issue.

A north Longford community group’s hopes of turning up to 15 acres of NAMA owned land into a visitor attraction centre stepped up a notch in recent weeks following a well attended public meeting on the issue.

The group behind the drive, otherwise known as the Granard Area Tourism Project, joined consultancy experts in addressing local homeowners about a feasability study which is presently being carried out.

Around 70 interested parties attended a meeting in the localcommunity centre recently to hear how experts from Dublin based firm Tourism Developments International are presently looking at ways of bringing the potential tourist attraction to fruition.

Located on the edge of Granard town, the site includes around 15 acres alongside two commercial units, which locals are also hoping to secure as part of the deal.

“The goal of this project is to establish a centre that will attract sufficient visitor numbers to pay its running costs and in so doing create some much needed local employment, both directly and indirectly,” said Paul Flood, who is one of several committee members heading up the proposal. “The second goal is to improve the overall image of our local town, which once was a very important market centre, but which has been in decline for many years.”

Like many others, Mr Flood is quietly hopeful the study will add to the recent successes the group has enjoyed in terms of its fundraising campaign, a move which has already garnered around €50,000 through a 500 club draw.

Mr Flood said the group were still very much keen to secure even greater input from the wider community.

“This (venture) is a considerable challenge and will not happen overnight,” he admitted . “Right now, the group are looking for ideas and would invite anyone interested in putting forward an idea, no matter how big or small, to send it in.

“The site being purchased for this project has 2 buildings on 15 acres so there is lots of room for different attractions. Ideas which have a uniqueness to this area, but which would have a local, national and even international interest would be great.”

Anyone with a viewpoint on how the proposed centre should look and operate can do so by sending ideas directly to ‘The Secretary, Granard Community Enterprise, Rathcronan, Granard, Co. Longford. Equally, committee organisers have said anonymous recommendations are also welcomed.