26 May 2022

GALLERY| Granard heritage park moves step closer

Norman Heritage Park: Local architects appointed design consultants and project supervisors

The opening of another state of the art visitor attraction for Longford is one step closer with the appointment of local architects SWEENEY ARCHITECTS to design and Project Manage the construction of a multi million project Granard Heritage Park.

Minister of State for the OPW and Flood Relief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran T.D., welcomed the appointment on Tuesday, December 17, and commended the local community for their vision and hard work .

The state-of-the-art visitor attraction will be a ‘huge asset’ for Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands according to Minister Boxer Moran, as it will become ‘Ireland’s only authentically recreated Norman village that brings the story of Ireland under the Normans to life’.

The village will provide an immersive experience for visitors that will transport them back 800 years to experience how the people of that era lived, worked and played – all delivered through live acting, innovative displays and activities, as well as augmented and virtual reality.

The project, which has been driven by Granard Motte Community Enterprise CLG (GMCE), is the culmination of 10 years work and collaboration between the local community, Longford County Council, Failte Ireland and support from the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Pobal. With the appointment of Sweeney Architects, the project is moving from planning to completion.

Head of Attractions at Fáilte Ireland, Mary Stack, said:“The Norman Heritage Park is a great example of how the public sector and community have come together to create a brilliant attraction for Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our partners and the newly appointed design team in shaping this project to deliver an authentic and immersive visitor experience.”

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Failte Ireland’s investment of €640,000 in the Norman Heritage Park comes under its Grants Scheme for Large Tourism Projects 2016-2020. This adds to the investment of almost €3million announced for the project by the Department of Rural and Community Development earlier this year through its Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

Lorraine O Connor On behalf of Longford Co Council said: “Longford Co Council welcomes the appointment of Sweeney Architects as Design and Project Manager for the Granard Heritage Park.

“We are delighted to see the project move to the next stage. Longford Co Council are committed to this project and commend the committee and the community of Granard for their vision and dedication to regeneration in their local area.

“It is a very exciting time for tourism development in Longford and the Hidden Heartlands and this project will be a flagship project in the Hidden Heartlands once complete.”

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Nicholas Sweeney, Principal Architect and Project Manager, Sweeney Architects, spoke at their delight at getting involved with a local project of such significance.

Nicholas stated: “As Longford based architects, we are particularly delighted to be involved in a local project of this significance. Although based in Longford most of our work tends to be in Dublin or the surrounding counties.

“Besides the local interest, the project itself is particularly interesting in that we will be bringing a Norman Village experience to life with many fascinating aspects to be enjoyed by the visitor.

“We are very excited and looking forward to being directly involved in delivering a national tourism attraction to Longford. We admire the vision and ambition of our client and aim to exceed their expectations.”

Fr. Simon Cadam, Chair of Granard Motte Community Enterprise CLG (GMCE), praised the local support towards the project.

He said: “We’re delighted that this day has arrived. This is a community driven project which will bring to life one of the finest examples of an Anglo-Norman fortification in Ireland.

“The local community here in Granard have supported this project 100% and are looking forward to its completion. The appointment of Sweeney Architects will bring us another step closer.

“Granard is home to the highest Norman motte in Ireland, commanding spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and this new attraction will transform the visitor experience here. Vitally, it will help to create jobs in our local area and that has been a key driver for us in the Granard Motte Community Enterprise.

“We are also very grateful to Minister Boxer Moran, Local Representatives, Longford County Council and Failte Ireland for their support ,financial and otherwise.”

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