WATCH: Dunree Military Fort and Museum receives 'transformative' funding

Dunree Fort will be 'biggest and best tourist attraction in Ireland'

Inishowen's iconic Dunree Military Fort and Museum is to receive "transformative" funding, "enriching its offering for the local community and for tourists".

The funding package totals €12.5m. €9.3m is coming from Tourism Minister Catherine Martin, under Fáilte Ireland's Platform for Growth Programme 2021 and €3.2m is coming from Donegal County Council.

Welcoming the Fort Dunree announcement, Minister Charlie McConalogue said it would support a "massive new development" at the spectacularly scenic location.

Minister McConalogue said: "I am delighted to welcome the announcement today of €12.5m from my cabinet colleague, Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin, to support a massive new development here at Dunree Military Fort and Museum.

"The funding will see significant improvements to the Lower Fort and the Upper Fort,  to developing the new walkways and pathways and also restoring and renewing some of the buildings and removing some of the ones that need to be removed. It will also go towards additional car parking.

"Overall, it is going to make a massive impact to Dunree Military Fort and Museum, which will really see it become a must-visit location for anyone who is visiting Donegal and Inishowen. This location here on the shores of Lough Swilly is one of the most beautiful locations in the country.

"This military fort has had a massive part of our history in Inishowen and, indeed, nationally and this investment now will ensure it plays a massive part in our future as well. I want to thank my Government colleague Joe McHugh, my party Senator Niall Blaney for their support. I particularly want to thank the Board of Directors at Dunree Military Fort and Museum under the chairpersonship of John McCarter, who drove this project forward for many years now to this great moment today. Also I want to acknowledge the role of Mayor Cllr Rena Donaghey, who is on the Board of Directors, as is local Cllr Nicholas Crossan.

"I want to particularly thank Fáilte Ireland and, in particular, Joan Crawford for the massive work they have done in putting this phenomenal project together, working with the Board of Directors of the Fort and Museum. This is a tremendous Jewel in the Crown of Donegal and it will be even more so an iconic place that will be a must visit for Inishowen and for Donegal into the future and I very much look forward to seeing this work commenced and delivered.

Speaking to Donegal Live, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Rena Donaghey said: "As a Board member of Fort Dunree, for a long number of years we have been seeking funding from various funding cocktails but not receiving anything of a substantial nature. Today's announcement of €12.5m is just great news.

"There are very exciting plans for Dunree and to get the full funding that we applied for is most unusual but very welcome, and will enable us, among other things, to bring some of the buildings at Fort Dunree up to their former glory. 

"This is going to to be super and I mean super. This is going to be one of the biggest and best tourist attractions in the whole of Ireland. 

"I would like to thank the Department of Tourism and Minister McConalogue, who is at the Cabinet table. To have a Minister in our own county was key to the Dunree Fort project receiving the full amount of funding requested," said Cllr Donaghey.

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