A NEW chapter in the history of Lough Gur has been opened following the unveiling of the revamped heritage centre which has undergone improvements works to the tune of €535,000.
The long list of works carried out included a complete overhaul of the interior, the re-thatching of both roofs and the extensive redesign and creation of a new exhibition detailing 8000 years of habitation at Lough Gur.
“It is the intention of the development group to welcome everyone to experience the history, archaeology and folklore covered within the display,” said Tom Flynn, chairman of Lough Gur Development Co-operative Society.
Refurbishment works began in November 2012 and were completed in June 2013.
The heritage centre was originally opened by Shannon Heritage in 1981 and was carefully managed as a tourism facility by the umbrella body for 30 years. In 2011 Lough Gur Development Co-operative Society, a non-profit organisation comprised of local residents took over the centre to improve and promote the Lough Gur area.
Local residents of Lough Gur, with great pride in their newly acquired venture began intensive fundraising to carry out the necessary refurbishment works. Ballyhoura Development became the main financial contributors along with Limerick County Council and Tourism Cares. There was also a contribution from the JP McManus Foundation.
To assist members of the public on their visit there are several touch screen displays, audio guides and listening points. For the budding archaeologist there is an interactive dig and a dressing up corner for those who wish to dress in old-style garments.
There are several options available to visitors. Self-guided tours have been designed to allow the independent traveller to saunter at an easy pace around the lake. Maps and itrail information are freely available in the heritage centre reception area. There is also an option to book local guides trained by Michael Quinlan who had dedicated a lifetime to studying, preserving and promoting the history and folklore of Lough Gur.
There is also a purpose built coffee dock overlooking the lake and surrounding lands.The opening times for the Centre are 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 12pm to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. Rates and additional information can be found on www.loughgur.com or by phoning the heritage centre directly on 061 385186.