Significant Investments for Arranmore as Shorefront Development Opened and New Ferry Announced
Donegal County Council and Comharchumann Oileán Árainn Mhór CTR welcome the official opening of the Forbairt Taitneamhachtaí Cois Cladaigh Oileán Árainn Mhór (Arranmore Island Shorefront Amenity Development) by the Minister for Rural & Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD on Friday 22nd July 2022.
The project is a part of the wider €4.1m ‘Harbour to Island’ rural regeneration project and is the result of a partnership between Donegal County Council and Comharchumann Oileán Árainn Mhór. It is co-funded by Donegal County Council and the Department of Rural & Community Development under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, which is a flagship element of Project Ireland 2040.
The project is located in a striking natural coastal environment in the townland of Leabgarrow on the Island and following the official opening event Minister Humphreys said:
This fantastic new amenity will greatly improve the quality of life for the residents of the community on Arranmore. It will do so much for our young people – providing a performance venue and play area – making the beautiful island an even better place to grow up in, and it will do so much too in terms of supporting and driving new businesses in the likes of the tourism, hospitality, leisure sectors.
What I saw on the island was a fantastic community spirit. I want to commend Comharchumann Oiléan Árainn Mhór for their efforts, and I want to pay tribute to Donegal County Council, under the leadership of Chief Executive John McLaughlin for being instrumental in delivering this project. Finally, I want to pay tribute to Minister Charlie McConalogue and Deputy Joe McHugh, who I have worked closely with in Dáil Éireann to secure investment for Donegal under Our Rural Future.”
The development provides new car parking with accessible beach access, a bespoke children’s play park focused around a central pirate ship play piece and a unique event and performance space in the shape of a community inspired amphitheatre.
At the official opening Leas-Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr. Michael Naughton acknowledged the important role of the community in the successful planning of the project, hailing it as “a best practice exemplar of community led regeneration and a demonstration of how effective community action can enable local and national government to support communities in bringing their dreams to reality.” Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, John G. McLaughlin lauded the combined efforts of the community, Council staff and the contractor Joseph McMenanmin & Sons (Stranorlar) Ltd in delivering the project on time and on budget, particularly in face of many unprecedent challenges including the Covid-19 public health pandemic.
The performance space has already been used on three separate occasions as a part of the Earagail Arts Festival and hosted its inaugural concert on Friday afternoon after the official opening when Clann Mhic Ruairí, Green Island & Special guests entertained everyone present.
Elsewhere, the Arranmore Ferry company has announced that they will be adding a new custom-designed vessel to their fleet. The company which operates between Burtonport and Arranmore has invested heavily in a hybrid-powered ferry designed by Marine Design International Ltd (MDI) in Glasgow. The keel will be laid late at a yard on the Isle of Bute in August 2022 for an ambitious launch in summer or autumn 2023.
The new vessel will develop on this knowledge to provide a vessel with greater safety, efficiency and capability in line with the SI640 of 2020 Irish Domestic Passenger Ship Standards.