Plans for the restoration of a 384-year-old castle in Raphoe, along with the development of an historic tourist trail throughout east Donegal, should be put in place as part of an economic strategy for the area.
That was the suggestion from independent councillor Frank McBrearty when he spoke at the recent online Lifford-Stranorlar Municipal District meeting.
Cllr McBrearty expressed dismay that the rich historical features of the district were not being promoted to the fullest extent adding that areas like St Johnston, Lifford, Castlefin, Killygordon, Ballybofey, Stranorlar and Glenfin had much to offer if developed.
He was supported by other councillors who pointed out that as the outlook for the tourism sector remains highly uncertain with the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to hit hard, tourism should be a long term strategy to help revive economies in rural areas.
He said east Donegal may not have the beaches the other districts had but it could offer a unique tourism experience and called on the council's Economic Development Unit to explore ways it could bring Lifford-Stranorlar on a par with the focus other areas received.
“It's good to see we are getting mention in brochures now but we're still lacking behind the other districts. The castle in Raphoe for example is of far greater significance than the one in Donegal Town but it has been lying derelict for years because no department has been willing to grasp the nettle and do what has been done over there,” he said.
Assistant head of enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office, Brenda Hegarty, said she acknowledged the concerns of the council members and would bring the wishes to have more of the district's historic sites into their tourism products portfolio.
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