Heritage centre rises from cinema's ashes

 

It started with a burnt-out cinema - now from its ashes will rise an interpretative centre, theatre, cinemas, art galleries and a multi-purpose arts and crafts facility. In the late 1980s, says Paul Grisewood, project director of the Tipperary Excel Heritage Company, a number of people in Tipperary town felt something could be done with the old movie-house.

The Excel company, a group of people who wanted to set up a community serving business, applied three times to Bord Failte for heritage town status. This it finally won in 1990 and with it full grant aid for a proposed heritage and entertainment centre on the site of the cinema.

"We managed to raise a lot of money locally. Along with this £50,000 or so, Bord Failte allocated £500,000, the Department of Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht and the Islands approved £650,000 and in the last fortnight, Bord Failte's product marketing board approved £277,000. In all we have raised £2.07 million," says Grisewood. Apart from obvious delight at being able to see the latest films without having to travel 30-odd miles, the centre will also be a big jobs boost.