Clare County Council has announced a comprehensive plan relating to the future tourism development and visitor management of Holy Island (Inis Cealtra) on Lough Derg, County Clare. The Local Authority has confirmed that it acquired 41 acres on the island which, together with the 2 acres already in the ownership of the Office of Public Works (OPW), now means that the entire island is, for the first time, in public ownership.
Still used as a burial ground, the ruins and buildings on Holy Island date back as far as the 7th century when the monastic site was established by St. Caimin. Ancient structures on the island include a 24-metre high round tower, an oratory, and a number of churches.
Speaking at a function in the Mountshannon Hotel, following a visit to Holy Island, Cllr. John Crowe, the Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council stated:
“Holy Island is one of the most important historical and ecclesiastical sites in Ireland, and it has important links to Brian Ború. It is on the UNESCO world heritage site tentative list for Ireland as an early medieval monastic site along with Clonmacnoise, Durrow, Glendalough, Kells and Monasterboice. It is the jewel in the crown for East Clare and I am delighted that Clare County Council has now concluded the purchase of 41 acres on the Island so that the Island is now in public ownership.”
The purchase of the Island has been funded by Clare County Council from its own resources and additional funding towards the production of a Visitor Management and Tourism Development Plan has been provided by the Lough Derg Marketing and Strategy Group.