15 May 2019
The new €4.95m Sliabh Liag Strategic Development Project officially opened on Monday by Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD in association with Cllr Seamus O Domhnaill Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council.
Sliabh Liag, one of the signature points on the Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal, offers stunning coastline cliffs of almost 2,000 feet high and currently attracts in excess of 160,000 visitors each year.
The Sliabh Liag Strategic Development Projectrepresents a project with a capital investment of €4.95 million incorporating the construction of the Transportation Hub and Visitor’s Centre. The capital works also included road improvements from Carrick village, a Ranger Station with carpark and toilet facilities which have been open since August 2017 and importantly the mountain path works completed in May 2018 with 2.5km of new path installed.
The project also includes interpretation of the local area. Within the Visitor’s Centre, which includes a Cafe and seating area, there are interpretation panels entitled ‘On the Edge’ to experience the beauty and stories of Sliabh Liag which also incorporates some interactive play for younger visitors. An external wider interpretation of Sliabh Liag includes beautifully crafted story stones, each one depicting artistic illustrations which animate the main themes about the mountain and echo the narrative which the visitor will have experienced in the Visitor Centre. The story stones are preceded at gateways to the walks by Portal or Entrance stones which are used to mark essential information about the routes and safety advice.
Speaking in advance of the official opening Minister Joe McHugh TD said “There’s no match for a place like Sliabh Liag, sitting right on the edge of Donegal’s Gaeltacht. We have a huge opportunity to grow the spectacular location to become a major flagship tourism project for the county.
“I would like to acknowledge the commitment of all the backers of this project and all those in Donegal County Council, Fáilte Ireland and Special EU Programmes Body who saw the potential in this iconic site.
“Sliabh Liag continues to attract growing numbers of visitors and this investment will assist greatly with onsite management and also the protection of the mountain through the new path having regard to the increased footfall.
“Providing these essential facilities will undoubtedly enhance the visitors experience at Sliabh Liag and will enable the local community to avail of the potential that exists while at the same time protecting and preserving the unique landscape and culture of the area that makes Sliabh Liag such a special place.”
Donegal County Council in association with Donegal Tourism has developed a website and social media presence for Sliabh Liag and Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr. Seamus O’Domhnaill believes that all of these developments will create jobs locally and stimulate local investment saying “the Sliabh Liag Strategic Development Project represents a substantial investment in what is one of the most iconic visitor destinations in Donegal. This is about delivering quality tourism development by enhancing a sustainable tourism product and raising awareness worldwide of the brand that is available here in Donegal. I would like to acknowledge the support of the local community in the development of this strategic tourism project in one of the most outstanding scenic areas in the country”.
Speaking about Fáilte Ireland’s €2.3 million investment in the visitor centre, Fiona Monaghan, Head of Activities at Fáilte Ireland, said “a Signature Discovery Point along the Wild Atlantic Way, Sliabh Liag is a key attraction for Donegal and one that supports Fáilte Ireland’s ambition to put Ireland on the ‘outdoor tourism destination’ map. We are committed to building on the success of the Wild Atlantic Way and investment in projects like this ensures that we can provide an unparalleled visitor experience and encourage visitors to explore lesser travelled parts of the West Coast, which in turn drives job creation and revenue growth in local areas.”
The official opening took place on Monday 13 May at 3pm at the Sliabh Liag Visitor Centre.