Visitor centre for Granard edges closer

Local residents stand outside the entrance to the proposed site of the new visitors' centre in Granard town. Photo: Michelle Ghee.
Next Tuesday night promises to be a red-letter evening for the north Longford town of Granard.

Next Tuesday night promises to be a red-letter evening for the north Longford town of Granard.

It’s an occasion local people, headed by a small but dedicated band of committee members have waited the best part of 18 months for as they look to bring a new, state of the art visitor centre to the town.

Last May, over 100 homeowners unanimously endorsed those plans, part of which involved the proposed acquisition of 15 acres of land and two commercial buildings from NAMA.

“The idea was to use this property to create a visitor centre which would promote Granard and the surrounding area and attract visitors to the area,” said Paul Flood, one of the main protagonists behind the bid.

“The site was considered ideal as it was within the town, along the N55 and is adjacent to Granard Motte, considered to be the highest and most spectacular Motte in the country.”

But with every idea, a dedicated campaign was needed to bring the concept to reality. With a committee formed and the Granard Motte Community Enterprise Ltd inititated, question marks also surrounded all-important funding requirements.

Various ideas were put forward and fundraising got underway - the highlight of which was the well attended Granada Reunion Festival Weekend in July.

That, combined with the goodwill and benevolence of locals, has helped lay the foundations for a feasibility study, the contents of which will be revealed next Tuesday.

Officials from consultancy firm, EXODEA Europe Consulting Ltd will be on hand to deliver the final details of the study.

Mr Flood told the Leader that the project would have huge significance not just for Granard but for the entire area.

“It is a unique project which, long term, will become one of the most important visitor centres in the midlands region and in so doing will create sustainable employment both directly and indirectly,” he said.

Guest speakers will be there too, including RTE’s Ciaran Mullooly and Dr Senan Cooke, secretary of ‘Communities Creating Jobs,’ a newly formed all-Ireland organisation.

The project will be formally launched by the recently retired Bishop Colm O’Reilly, a native of North Longford.

It all gets underway from 8pm inside the town’s Community Centre on Tuesday November 12.

“This really is a superb example of a community helping itself and building for the future,” Paul Flood concluded.