HOWLEY’S Quay looks in line for a major facelift with Shannon Development boss Dr Vincent Cunnane confident of a “positive” funding announcement that could transform the riverside from the Shannon Bridge to Poor Man’s Kilkee.
Together with Limerick City Council, Shannon Development is looking to draw down Government funds to remodel Howley’s Quay with boardwalks and street furniture along the lines of completed works across the river at O’Callaghan and Clancy Strands.
“We have been working with the Council on developing a plan that would see something similar to what happened at O’Callaghan Strand on the other side of the river,” Dr Cunnane said at the Strand Hotel as Shannon Development published its annual report for 2010.
Planning has already been granted under a Part 8 application and all that remains is for the funding to be agreed.
“That has gone in and has gone through several layers of decision-making. So we believe that it will be announced very shortly in a positive sense. You will have boardwalks facing on to the river, getting the river as a focal point with boardwalks from Shannon Bridge to Sarsfield Bridge and then all the way up to the castle.”
Funds will be drawn from the same scheme that saw €4.7 million granted by Failte Ireland for the redevelopment of King John’s Castle. Shannon Development is committing an additional €1 million of its own resources for the King John’s project, which will include a new Limerick-themed interactive visitor centre at Castle Lane.
“This is a 21st century product for an old castle and we hope to have that finished in time for the 800th celebrations of the castle next year,” Dr Cunnane said of the King John’s project, adding it was hoped to double the number of visitors to the castle following its completion.
An estimated 40 jobs will be created during the construction phase and 17 full-time jobs once work is complete in 2012. A design team to carry out work on the project is expected to be announced shortly.
An all-new King John’s should see a continuation of the upward trend in tourism revenues Shannon Development is reporting so far in 2011.
Shannon Development’s own Bunratty Castle had seen a 10 per cent increase in visitors admitted and banquets booked while there were also reports of “double-digit” growth at attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher and local golf clubs.
The increase is not solely attributable to the volcanic ash crisis that caused tourist numbers to collapse in April and May of 2010 as January and June of this year had also seen growth, said Dr Cunnane.