SHANNON Heritage has won a lucrative contract to operate and manage a new €7m centre exhibition centre in the GPO in Dublin.
The body, which operates tourist attractions in the region and recently saw an overall 11% increase in visitor numbers in 2014, has announced that it is has been appointed by An Post to manage the GPO Witness History Interpretive Exhibition Centre, opening in Easter 2016.
Shannon Heritage, part of the Shannon Group plc, parent company to the Shannon Airport Authority and Shannon Commercial Enterprises, was awarded the contract following a “competitive tender process”.
The visitor centre is currently under construction in the inner eastern courtyard of the building which was the central location for action during the 1916 Rising. The centre is expected to attract up to large numbers of visitors annually following its opening next year.
“Shannon Heritage is delighted to be involved in this nationally important project at the iconic GPO location,” said Shannon Heritage CEO John Ruddle.
“We has been managing visitor attractions for over 50 years and this new visitor attraction provides the company with a great opportunity to expand in the capital city and also play a vital role in the celebrations of the centenary of the Irish state.”
Arts minister Heather Humphreys, who also met with local authority representatives this week to discuss plans for the commemoration of the 1916 Rising, said the awarding of the contract to Shannon Heritage was “another important milestone in the development of this major new visitor attraction at the GPO”.
“It is one of seven major public projects being developed as part of Ireland 2016, the Government’s initiative to commemorate the 1916 Rising,” she said.
“GPO Witness History will leave us with a lasting legacy from Ireland 2016 and will be a fantastic addition to Dublin’s tourism offering. It is on track to be open at Easter 2016, as part of the wide range of events to commemorate the Rising.”
Shannon Heritage operates seven day time and four evening attractions around the region - plus Malahide Castle - which drew 637,000 visitors in 2014, with day visitor attractions up over 13%. King John’s and Malahide castles both recently won awards at the CIE Tours Awards.
Neil Pakey, CEO of the Shannon Group said: “We will work hard with our new partners, An Post, to create one of the best visitor experiences in the country and look forward to the challenge of creating some real excitement at the very heart of Dublin.”