Fáilte Ireland today welcomed the opening of the newly refurbished Fanad Head lighthouse, describing it as a vital contribution to the success of the Wild Atlantic Way, and a boost for tourism in the north-west.
Speaking at the official opening of the newly refurbished lighthouse, Fáilte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn said a priority is that communities along the western seaboard are given facilities in which to tell their stories, and that in itself should persuade visitors to spend more time and money in places such as Fanad.
From Failte ireland's official release -
The restoration works include an interpretation area in the lighthouse to give visitors the history of the lighthouse, the Fanad story, as well as the stories of marine life and nearby ship wrecks. A permanent exhibition will include; lighthouse keepers’ records/log books; semaphore flags; replacement lights and old light systems; historical maps; stories and anecdotes from Fanad Head. Furthermore, on a more practical note, a new visitor facility added to the lighthouse will allow for greater numbers of visitors, providing as it does a reception and display area, an exhibition area and other services.
Mr Quinn pointed out that the project was a perfect fit for the Wild Atlantic Way and tied in with Fáilte Ireland’s plans to develop Donegal tourism, complementing as it does the tourism authority’s recent €3m investment in Sliabh Liag. The development at Fanad Head will also sit alongside Fáilte Ireland’s plans to substantially enhance nearby Malin Head. As an initial step, the tourism authority recently announced funding of €396,000 to Donegal County Council to develop visitor facilities at Malin Head which will significantly enhance the visitor experience at that site.
Mr Quinn emphasised:
“We want Donegal and the north west in particular to benefit from the Wild Atlantic Way. Along the southern part of the coastal route, most of those parts have traditionally thrived on tourism and the Wild Atlantic Way will grow their numbers. However, north of Galway – particularly through north Mayo, Sligo and up to Donegal – we believe that the Wild Atlantic Way will be a game changer and provide the boost to local economies and local employment that this part of Ireland sorely needs.
“However, for that to happen, we need more overseas visitors. And, for visitors, we need good compelling reasons for them to visit. Investment in Sliabh Liag, Malin Head and Fanad Head Lighthouse is designed to provide just that."
Overlooking Malin Head, the most northerly point in Ireland, Fanad Head lighthouse, which is still in operation, will mark its 200th anniversary in 2017. The lighthouse will also feature in the Commissioners of Irish Lights ‘Shine a Light on Summer Festival’ which takes place this weekend and which also received funding from Fáilte Ireland.