AN application has been lodged with Limerick County Council for the upgrading of the heritage centre - formerly known as the interpretive centre - in Lough Gur to include a coffee dock and retail area to make it more visitor friendly.
Lough Gur Development lodged an application with the local authority for the redevelopment works which also include the renewal of thatch on the centre, the replacement of windows, the re-modelling of the link structure and internal modifications.
“The centre is a listed building and whilst the footprint cannot be altered, the interior will be revamped completely making the centre more accessible to visitors with mobility difficulties and will have a more attractive and modern feel yet retaining the unique heritage style,” explained Roseanne Dunne, manager Lough Gur Development Co-op Society.
“A coffee dock and retail area will be added along with user friendly panels and story boards. The thatch will be replaced along with the windows. The plan is that the centre can be used by local groups,” she added.
The centre was taken over in June 2011 by Lough Gur Development.
“The centre had been run by Shannon Heritage and Lough Gur Development have taken over the management on a long-term lease from Limerick County Council - the latter have been extremely supportive along with Ballyhoura Development in terms of funding and support,” continued Ms Dunne.
The visitor centre was built around 1979/80 and the design of the centre was based on neolithic house plans evident at the Lough Gur site at Knockadoon.
A report prepared by architect Conor Hourigan as part of the planning application states that it appears that the original intention was to use the centre as a tea-room and that Bouchiers Castle be a museum/display area. “That didn’t work out and the ‘centre’ became the sole building for an interpretative centre. It is interesting to note in the context of the building’s status that it was overlooked for inclusion in the recent building survey of County Limerick carried out by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage,” the report states.