Major investment for Fort Dunree for world-class visitor experience

Fáilte Ireland and Donegal County Council funding package

Major investment for Fort Dunree for  world-class visitor experience

Major investment for Fort Dunree for world-class visitor experience

A new world-class tourist attraction at Fort Dunree and Museum has received funding of €12.5 million.

Fáilte Ireland is investing €9.3million into the project, with the remainder coming from Donegal County Council.

Over the first five years of operation this project will generate €19.5m in direct tourism expenditure supporting 550 jobs in the area and 12 new jobs will be created at the attraction. 

 Fort Dunree and Head proposes a compelling visitor experience that will showcase its considerable maritime, military, social and political history, telling engaging stories across each of these facets. Fort Dunree has a distinctive mix of physical assets – the High Fort with watchtowers providing a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view and perspective of this part of Inishowen; one of the best collections of coastal guns in the world; military memorabilia and artefacts; and a lighthouse.

 The proposed Funicular, which will be the only one in Ireland, will offer visitors a “thrilling ascent” to the High Fort, whilst its descent will provide breath-taking views of Lough Swilly and its surroundings. A further key value proposition is the development of the glass walkway, bridging two elements of the site and providing spectacular views of the natural environment.

The Donegal project is just one of four projects announced by Minister Martin as part of a €73 million investment programme under Fáilte Ireland’s Platforms for Growth Investment Grants Scheme for Immersive Heritage and Cultural Attractions. Fáilte Ireland is investing €44.3million and a total match funding of €29 million from public and private project partners.  

Attractions in Cavan, Dublin and Mayo were also successful applicants under the Scheme.

All four new and strategically important large-scale visitor attractions will unlock regional dispersal of visitors and extend the tourism season in these regions beyond the traditional summer months. 

The unique attractions that have been offered Fáilte Ireland investment funding are:

Shannon Pot & Cavan Burren Park, Blacklion, Co. Cavan - €4.8 million Fáilte Ireland investment

Fort Dunree & Head, Buncrana, Co. Donegal - €9.3 million Fáilte Ireland investment

‘This is Ireland’ North City Centre, Dublin 1 - €10 million Fáilte Ireland investment

Westport House Estate & Gardens, Westport, Co. Mayo -€20.2 million Failte Ireland investment

Minister Catherine Martin said: “Today’s significant funding announcement will ensure world-class visitor attractions are created that will attract domestic and international tourists to the four locations which will not just benefit the counties where they’re located but will motivate people to stay longer and explore more widely across the region. This investment in creative and impactful large-scale visitor experiences is critical to strengthening Ireland’s reputation internationally as a must-visit holiday destination and provides a catalyst for further innovation in the tourism sector. This is the most significant investment in visitor attractions ever undertaken by Fáilte Ireland that will have far-reaching national and regional economic benefits.”

Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland added: “Driving regional tourism growth has always been a key priority for Fáilte Ireland but it is now more important than ever as we rebuild the sector and recover from the devastation of Covid19.  The aim of the Platforms for Growth 1 funding scheme is to grow Ireland’s stock of large-scale visitor attractions to appeal to both domestic and international visitors. The standard of applications received for this Scheme was incredibly high and we are encouraged by the level of innovation and creativity demonstrated. The four awarded projects are truly best-in-class. They are diverse, engaging and unique and will help visitors connect with Ireland and bring the country’s vibrant culture, heritage and people to life.”

Liam Ward, Director of Community Development & Planning Services, Donegal County Council said: “The development of Fort Dunree and Head using this Fáilte Ireland funding will be transformational for the tourism offering in Donegal and the surrounding areas. We look forward to commencing the project, which will encourage more visitors, domestic and international, to explore and spend time in this uniquely beautiful part of Ireland. This exciting project has been developed in partnership with the Fort Dunree Military Museum Group, Commission of Irish Lights and other stakeholders and we acknowledge their contribution to this positive development today.”



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