The Malin Head Marine Tourism project was formally opened by Cathaoirleach Cllr Ciaran Brogan yesterday Tuesday, June 16. This project is one of several Loughs Agency marine tourism and angling development projects funded through a €4 million programme of investment derived from the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.
The project works include the building of passing places along the narrow roads leading to the headland. Cliff top trails and a viewing area with telescopes to allow the visitor to safely enjoy the fabulous views across to Inishtrahull Island and the Scottish isles beyond. Overlooking the stunning coastline, information panels inform visitors of trail conditions and the wildlife they may see, as well as interpreting the landscape and seascape.
Speaking at the event, Donegal County Council Chief Executive Seamus Neely reiterated Donegal County Councils commitment to developing signature destination points along the Wild Atlantic Way, stating that “the Malin Head project is an addition to the strategic tourism development being carried out at Sliabh Liag and Fanad Lighthouse and places the county in a strong position to benefit from the aggressive international marketing of the Wild Atlantic Way”.
Newly elected Donegal County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Ciaran Brogan, believes the partnership model of cooperation is key to the development of this and other tourism products in the county.
“We know from past experience that these projects need the buy in of all stakeholders, be they statutory agencies, the local authority, community group or private business. This project should serve as a model for other groups looking to build on the critical mass of tourism product in their locality”.
This point was supported by Inishowen Municipal District Cathaoirleach, Cllr Rena Donaghey who also believes “that the community must be involved at all levels in terms of both developing and rolling out the actions on the ground”.
Mr Cathal Ó hOisín, MLA, a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, represented the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neill MLA, at the official opening event.
On behalf of Minister O’Neill, he paid tribute to the project partners, the Loughs Agency and Donegal County Council, on the effective cross border cooperation on this and other projects. The Loughs Agency is co-sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR).
Attending the opening, Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Joe McHugh TD also referred to the Wild Atlantic Way.
“Under the banner of the Wild Atlantic Way, Malin Head will benefit from a now internationally recognised brand which has been a resounding success for tourism on the western seaboard”.
He went on to say how, in his role as a Sponsoring Minister for the Loughs Agency on the North South Ministerial Council, he knew of “the success the Agency has had in recent years in securing some €15M in EU funding for investment in local amenities with real community dividend and for key research to underpin its core functions”.
Phil Mahon, Loughs Agency board member, expressed the Loughs Agency’s pride in the Malin Head project and explained how it was an “excellent example of EU funding being invested in infrastructure that will grow local and regional tourism”.
She went on to state that “the generous support of landowners has been key to the success of the Malin Head project – from the owners of property who permitted the construction of passing places to the farmers who allowed development of foot paths across their land”.
The Malin Head project is one of several Loughs Agency marine tourism and angling development projects funded through a €4 million programme of investment derived from the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.
The opening of the new facilities at Malin Head will enhance the visitor experience and boost tourism in the area, creating long-term benefits for the local community.