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Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran pledges to help Clara attract more tourists

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Minister Kevin 'Boxer'  Moran pledges to help Clara attract more tourists thumbnail

MINISTER Kevin 'Boxer' Moran has pledged his support to Clara Heritage Committee in their efforts to attract more tourists to the town.
Speaking at a meeting held in the Clara Bog Visitor Centre last Friday afternoon, the Minister said, there was a ''huge chest of money,'' coming down the tracks later on this year. However, he said Clara Heritage committee will have to tap into it.
Welcoming the Minister to the Clara Bog Visitor Centre, Chairperson, Bernie Henry, told him of some of the beautiful ''hidden gems'' in Clara, including the Brosna River and the world famous Clara Bog, but they would require input from the Office of Public Works, she said.
Ms Henry said the internationally proclaimed Clara Bog attracted 20,000 visitors in 2016 but she commented that it was less appreciated locally.
Speaking to the Tribune, prior to the meeting, Ms Henry said the main reason for the invitation to Minister Moran, was to ''heighten awareness of the beautiful town of Clara which has all the ingredients of a heritage town,'' she outlined.
''It hasn't been spoiled by the boom, in fact the contour of the skyline and the contour of the streets remain. It's got some very beautiful ancient sites dating back to the 12th century. It has some religious structures like St Brigid's in Kilbride. It also has some very beautiful industrial history,'' she added.
Ms Henry went on to say there was some, '' fabulous industrial engineering along the river which is hidden in behind buildings and they are are absolutely magnificent. We want to heighten awareness firstly and we will look for funding afterwards,'' she outlined.
Speaking about the Brosna river which flows through Clara , she described it as neglected and in need of ''tender loving care.
She noted that Clara was ''smack- bang'' in the middle of a Greenway and a Blueway for cyclists.
''So if we develop a Brownway through the bog, cyclists could come on the train, one could go one way the other go the other way and they can meet in the middle for coffee,'' she added.
''Having the train station is a great resource also,'' she stressed. ''The reason I invited the Minister is because he has initiated a new initiative in relation to the hidden heartlands.''
Clara is on the border of the ancient East and the hidden heartlands and the committee is looking for ways it can exploit that.
For his part Minister 'Boxer' Moran said he would organise a meeting with the committee and Failte Ireland in order to get their input and advice as to how Clara can best proceed and make the most of funding available.
He said there is money available for Clara but they would have to come up with a project. There is a ''huge chest of money,'' coming from the ''Hidden Ireland,''initiative, in late October this year,'' he added. ''Tap into it and use it to your advantage. I will give you all the help I can.'' he said.
He said he would work closely with Deputy Carol Nolan who was also present to to see what the area can take advantage of .
He spoke about Clara linking with other tourists attractions nearby such as Belvedere House or Dun na Si in Moate, and said he would like to see a situation develop where tourists would purchase a €20 ticket allowing them access to a number of sites in a short radius.
Regarding the river he said he would get back to the committee about the river in Clara and its potential
The Minister was entertained by pupils of St Francis Boys School and Scoil Bhride school who sang Little Town of Clara. A presentation was also made to him by Cian Fleming of the Moran coat of arms. He was then brought on a tour of Clara bog.

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