Minister unveils €4m Dublin heritage trail plan
PLANS FOR a Dublin heritage trail that will run from College Green to Kilmainham have been announced by Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar.
Some €4 million has been earmarked for the “Dubline” trail and the first phase is expected to be complete within a year.
Signs and branding will direct visitors along the trail, which passes by Trinity College Dublin, Dublin Castle, Christ Church, the Liberties and St James’s Gate before ending at Kilmainham. Tourists will also be directed to heritage and cultural landmarks nearby.
There are plans to provide smartphone apps, virtual tours and podcasts for users of the route. The prospect of creating a network of wifi zones along the route is also being examined. Within these zones, visitors would be able to download relevant content at a cheaper rate.
The plan involves cleaning up the streets and buildings along the route to make the area more attractive to tourists.
The first phase of the project includes a tourist centre on the plaza beside City Hall, which should be complete within a year.
Mr Varadkar said the walking trail would tell the story of Dublin city. “A walk from Trinity College to Kilmainham takes you through centuries of Irish history, including our Viking, medieval, Norman and Anglo-Irish pasts,” he said. “This new initiative will combine the ancient era with modern technology to immerse tourists in Dublin’s history.”
Mr Varadkar said his department was investing €3.5 million in the project through Fáilte Ireland with the remainder coming from Dublin City Council. The Office of Public Works is also involved.
If the project was successful, he added, it could be extended to the northside of the city, perhaps as far as Croke Park.
Fáilte Ireland chief executive Shaun Quinn said Dublin had enormous potential and it was time to make the most of it. Tourism was worth €1.5 billion to the local economy in Dublin and there was no reason why that could not be doubled. Some three-quarters of tourists stay in Dublin at some point during their visit to Ireland.
“The 21st-century tourist is not a passenger. In the digital age of the internet, iPads, Xboxes and smartphones, the modern traveller is hands-on and wants to actively engage with their environment,” he said. “They want to learn more and do more in the places they visit.”
Dublin Lord Mayor Andrew Montague said he believed the walking trail would “significantly enhance” the Dublin visitor experience for tourists. “We’re only at the beginning of this very exciting and very innovative idea and I think it’s something the whole city will benefit from.”