Blaskets Visitor Experience Opens
A new visitor experience has officially opened at the Blasket Islands following an investment of €2.9million from Fáilte Ireland, the Office of Public Works and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
The Minister for State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works Patrick O’Donovan and Máire Ní Shúilleabháin Uí Chíobháin, daughter of famed Blasket author Muiris Ó Súilleabháin, re-opened the iconic Blasket Centre (Ionad an Bhlascaoid) in Dún Chaoin on the western edge of the Dingle Peninsula.
Adjacent to the recently opened viewing platform with spectacular views over the Blasket Islands, the project includes a total transformation of the Centre’s exhibitions to deliver an authentic and imaginative re-telling of the story of the Blasket islands, their rich heritage and their literature which is of national and international significance. The Blasket Centre is a flagship visitor attraction for County Kerry and is expected to attract 63,000 visitors to the region by Year 5 of opening.
Fáilte Ireland, the Office of Public Works and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage have together invested €2.9million in the Centre. The Centre has been designated as a Wild Atlantic Way Signature Discovery Point, and together with the walkway and viewing platform, which opened to the public in 2020, offers dramatic views of the Blasket Island archipelago and the Atlantic coastline.
The Centre provides direct employment for 20 people when in operation and will support over 250 additional jobs in this Gaeltacht region. Welcoming the official opening of the centre, Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin TD said: “The story of the Blasket Islands is one of great interest to domestic and international audiences. The renewed visitor experience at the Blasket Centre is an exciting and 0imaginative opportunity for visitors to engage with the richness of that culture.”
Patrick O’Donovan T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, added: “I am delighted to reopen the Blasket Centre – Ionad an Bhlascaoid – here in Dún Chaoin today. It is a stunning piece of architecture in itself and is now home to a totally new exhibition that tells the story of the Blasket Islands in an imaginative multi-media experience.
"It also pays homage to the significant cultural footprint the islanders left in a series of books documenting their lives. I invite visitors to come and discover this utterly unique heritage centre and museum which is both a window into the past and enables us to keep the extraordinary legacy of the Blasket Islanders alive by engaging with their history, their language and culture.”
Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister of State For Heritage and Electoral Reform, said: “The Blasket Islands are internationally known and are among Ireland’s most significant sites from a cultural and historical perspective. The story of the islands and its people is one we should all know, and now, thanks to our strategic partnership with Failte Ireland and the Office of Public Works, it will be told again and again to an even greater audience.”
Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland, added: “Investing in standout attractions that tell the rich story of Irish heritage creates new and unique reasons for visitors to choose Ireland, while creating employment in rural Ireland and its urban centres.
"The Dingle Peninsula is home to a wonderful array of natural and heritage attractions, and the development of this new centre and the spectacular vistas from the viewing platform at the Blasket Islands create another reason to visit Kerry. We are pleased to have developed this project under our strategic partnership with the OPW and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, adding another exciting focal point for people to come and discover along the Wild Atlantic Way.”