Varadkar announces €620K for Dublin tourism trail aimed at international visitors

halfpenny bridge

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has announced €620,000 to further develop several key tourism attractions in Dublin, the restoration of the historic church bell which was the first Catholic Bell to ring in Dublin in breach of the Penal Laws.

The five projects which all form part of the new Dublin tourism trail the Dubline will share the funding following an invitation for applications from tourism operators along the route last year. Fáilte Ireland has recommended grants for the following projects:

• St Werburgh’s Church – €200,000
• Dublinia €184,000
• Christ Church Cathedral – €188,500
• Tailor’s Hall – €29,040
• Smock Alley – €17,814

“Projects like this will boost the effectiveness of the Dubline project and give the city a competitive edge when it comes to attracting more overseas visitors to the city. This is not only good for tourism but also for businesses, retailers and jobs in the city,” Minister Varadkar said.

A fully-interactive and innovative way of telling the Dublin story, the Dubline will form a unique cultural and heritage walking trail running across the city from College Green to Kilmainham.

Tourism is currently worth over €1.5 billion to Dublin and the Dubline aims to grow this by using technology, wi-fi information links, dynamic signage, and dedicated branding. The goal is to give walkers an interactive, informative and enjoyable trail through the city. The Dubline will involve:

• further investment in visitor attractions and infrastructure, including the development of a significant new visitor meeting point along the route;
• the development of themed walking trails based around the central route;
• better access to the heritage of the area through online, mobile and traditional media;
• improving the pedestrian environment;
• high-profile marketing of the Dubline to both domestic and international visitors.

“The Dubline will tell Dublin’s story and will become a focal point for visitors. A walk from Trinity College to Kilmainham takes you through centuries of Irish history, including our Viking, medieval, Norman and Anglo-Irish pasts. This new initiative will combine the ancient era with modern technology to immerse tourists in Dublin’s history. We also plan to develop a new Independence Trail, linking key locations in the War of Independence, as part of the Dubline,” Minister Varadkar added.

Fáilte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn today echoed the Minister’s sentiments: “Increasingly, a successful tourism destination needs to be able to tell its story and to provide opportunities for visitors to engage with the narrative. We believe that the Dubline will allow us to do just that and will help us to raise our game in marketing Dublin as a world class destination.”

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Details of Individual Projects

• St. Werburgh’s Church – €200,000
The project will see enhanced accessibility for visitors to St Werburgh’s Church. The aim is to convey to the visitor its 900 years of history and its association with Dublin Castle and with major historical events of the city as well as some of Dublin’s renowned names such as the Guinness family and Jonathan Swift.

• Dublinia €184,000
The project will improve branding, signage, visitor access and comfort. Visual displays en route to St Michael’s Viewing Tower will be enhanced, and a new exhibition will be developed on the end of the Viking era including the Battle of Clontarf. The existing Viking legacy exhibition will also be redesigned and relocated.

• Christ Church Cathedral – €188,500
The project will improve the landscape around the Cathedral grounds by creating a multiuse space in the heart of the city, designed specifically to welcome more visitor numbers.

• Tailor’s Hall – €29,040
The project will animate a vital site on a key part of the Dubline adjacent to the Dublinia Visitor attraction and Christ Church Cathedral. The proposed development includes a new garden, information panels, film projection and night-time lighting of the exterior.

• Smock Alley – €17,814
The project will see the reinstatement of the lanterns outside the theatre, the repair of the bell (first Catholic bell to ring in Dublin in nearly 300 years breaching the penal laws) and provide secure exhibition space for the artefacts found on the site which are currently housed in the National Museum.

What is the Dubline Project?
• The Dubline is a proposed heritage trail which will run across the city from East to West along a route from College Green to Kilmainham.
• The plan for the Dubline will incorporate technology: dynamic signage, branding and a number of interpretive innovations will ensure that those who walk along the Dubline get the most out of their journey and enjoy a fully interactive informative and enjoyable experience

What will the final project look like?
The rich tapestry of Dublin’s history (Viking, medieval, academic, spiritual, industrial and military) from College Green to Kilmainham will be unlocked and highly visible to tourists. Whether a tourist seeks out the Dubline or happens across it, branding and way finding will ensure that they are aware of its significance and will be motivated to explore.

The proposed creation of a major tourist information meeting point along the route will provide a focus for tourists. The latest technology will be utilised to inform and inspire visitors to engage with Dublin’s heritage while actors and story tellers from the attractions and sites along the Dubline route will animate the stories of Dublin in the old fashioned Dublin way.

What are the Benefits of the Project?
• The Dubline project presents an important strategic opportunity to enhance Dublin’s position as a world class tourism destination and to grow overseas visitor numbers for Dublin.
• Three quarters of overseas visitors stay in Dublin at some point in their trip to Ireland. Tourism is worth over €1.5 billion to the local economy here in Dublin. Fáilte Ireland can build on this remarkable potential to increase the quantity of the visitors we welcome and to enhance the quality of their experience here.
• Increasingly, a successful tourism destination needs to be able to tell its story and to provide opportunities for visitors to engage with the narrative. The Dubline will allow Dublin to tell its story in an innovative and engaging way and will help us to raise our game in marketing Dublin as a world class destination.

Who is behind the Dubline Project?
• The Dubline Project represents a shared ambition by Fáilte Ireland, Dublin City Council and the Office of Public Works. All parties have a common interest in significantly enhancing the visitor experience of Dublin through the creation of a unique branded cultural and heritage trail that will grow and develop tourism in Dublin.
• The Dubline brings together the public, private and voluntary sectors to work collaboratively on making the most of this journey through Dublin’s past and present.

How has the Dubline Project developed so far?
• Key to the Dubline project is the pooled expertise, experience and creativity of participants drawn from heritage, culture, business and the local community. Through conversation, discussion and participative workshops, the collective intelligence of many people who care passionately about the future of this part of the City has been harnessed.
• The Dubline project will maximise opportunities to collaborate and share resources in order to deliver.

Date: 11. 3. 2014