A NEW five-year plan aims to raise Adare’s profile as a tourist destination and to establish it as a “gateway” for tourism over a wider area.
The Adare Destination Plan, which was launched by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadker at the weekend contains detailed, step by step plans to achieve this aim and bring higher numbers of visitors and longer-stay visitors into the village.
“By 2018, Adare is to become a “must see” destination,”, the plan declares as part of its vision statement.
“By 2018, Adare will also act as a tourism hub from which visitors will be encouraged to explore the wider Co Limerick and Shannon region.”
The plan was commissioned last year by Adare Heritage Trust Ltd, in association with Limerick County Council and was funded by West Limerick Resources.
The compilers of the plan, URS Ireland Ltd consulted the local community and the wider public on how visitor services could be improved.
The plan outlines Adare’s strengths, among which it lists Adare Castle and Adare Manor, which is on the 1001 lists of things to see before you die.
But it also looks at the challenges facing Adare and makes recommendations. Among these they propose a series of “discovery” trails and walks in and around the village and linking up with walking, cycling and driving trails already established in the county.
Improved signage and high quality information are also targeted for action as well as improved access to iconic attractions such as Adare Manor and Adare Castle.
The plan also recommends developing a series of annual events as well as encouraging and developing more arts and culture-centred activities in the village.
The plan notes the lack of a defined centre in Adare and suggests developing the front of the Adare Heritage Centre as a plaza. In addition, the plan suggests a revamp of the old courthouse to house a Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy centre to build on Limerick’s Fitzgerald connections. Such a centre, the plan suggests, could also celebrate the life and times of Adare-born musician and composer Sean O’Riada.
“While this Government has prioritised tourism with effective measures like the 9% VAT rate, lower employers’ PRSI and the fuel rebate for coach operators, it’s just as important to have local groups around the country which are keeping local tourism attractions relevant to visitors,” Minister Varadker said.
“ I’m delighted that Adare has taken the time to review its tourism attractions and I congratulate Adare Heritage Trust and Limerick County Council for commissioning this new report. Adare has a lot to offer and is a strong base to build on.”
Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr Jerome Scanlon said the plan gives Adare the opportunity to reinvent itself to meet the many challenges that inevitably lie ahead: “In this day and age of increased competition from other tourism markets, there is a real danger that tourism and hospitality businesses in towns and villages across Ireland may not succeed unless a fresh approach is adopted,” he said.