Round Tower Visitor Centre
South Dublin County Council is pleased to announce the recent signing of a contract for the construction of the Round Tower Visitor Centre and Garden in Clondalkin. The contract, valued at €2.32 million, was signed with Gem Construction Company based at Athlone Road, Longford. Gem Construction have an excellent track record in conservation projects and are responsible for the much-admired restoration of St. Mel’s Cathedral in Longford town. South Dublin County Council have previously worked successfully with Gem on large housing refurbishment programmes in Tallaght . Work on the project is underway and is scheduled to last 12 months.
The project will include the refurbishment of the 19th century Mill Cottages at numbers 1, 2 and 3 Millview Terrace and numbers 15 and 16 Tower Road. The upgraded cottages will house a series of exhibition spaces and small specialist retail unit. A new extension to the rear of the existing cottages will contain a bright café and associated service areas including lift and stairs. The entrance to the centre will be from a new public plaza on Tower Road. The café area will have an external terrace enjoying views of the 7th century Round Tower and a new garden.
Mayor Cllr Sarah Holland said “I enthusiastically welcome the development of the Round Tower Visitor Centre and see the Centre enhancing the visitor experience for our County, as well as putting Clondalkin Village, which is excellently located beside the Grand Canal Greenway, Corkagh Park, many nearby accommodation offerings and close to the Red Cow Luas hub, on the tourism map for Dublin.”
The development will achieve a key South Dublin tourism strategy objective of connecting our many parks and greenways, in the form of the Corkagh Park and the Grand Canal Greenway (links in turn into the City Centre) to local Villages, like Clondalkin. This will ultimately deliver an integrated tourism experience featuring heritage trails and interpretation, food and outdoor Park and Canal-side walks. The development of the Round Tower is opportune as the Council are also commissioning a study of adjoining Corkagh Park to explore options for further enhancement of recreation facilities for locals and visitors alike. The centre will also act as an attractor to retain in our County the many tourists staying the in corridor of well-located hotels on the nearby N7 and indeed for the 20,000 or so annual visitors to Camac Caravan and Camping Park.
The Visitor Centre location close to Corkagh Park and the Grand Canal Greenway should meet the need for new and different heritage experiences beyond the City Centre and close to the natural outdoors which is an inherent part of Failte Ireland’s marketing of Dublin as “The vibrant capital city bursting with a variety of surprising experiences-where city living thrives side by side with the natural outdoors.”
The permanent exhibition to be housed in the building will offer insight into Clondalkin’s early Christian heritage including the history of round towers and monastic centres in Ireland and will also illustrate the urban development of Clondalkin, its people and stories over the last 1,200 years. The building is designed to accommodate other temporary exhibitions and children’s’ activities promoted and organised by South Dublin’s Libraries and Arts Office. The new development will complement the active local scene in Irish language, music and culture. The Council has received help and support from a range of community groups in developing the project.
The overall offering will enrich the County heritage experience, which is already home to St.Endas/Pearse Museum and Rathfarnham Castle, which reopened to the public in October 2015, and will further meet the demands of key market profiles that Fáilte Ireland are targeting in their marketing campaigns such as culturally curious visitors to Ireland.
The Centre will open in 2017.