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Cathaoirleach welcomes RRDF funding for County Clare projects

18 November 2022

Clare County Council has welcomed the announcement of funding of €3.9m for Inis Cealtra Visitor Experience and €3.5m for the Kilrush Maritime Training Centre under the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF).

The projects were included in a €115m funding announcement for 23 landmark rural regeneration projects across the country by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD on 10th November 2022.

The RRDF provides investment to support suitable projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000, and outlying areas, which will deliver on the National Strategic Objective of Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities and achieve sustainable economic and social development in these areas. The current funding is being provided under Category 1 of the scheme. Category 1 funding relates to projects with all necessary planning and other consents in place and which are ready to proceed.

The Kilrush Maritime Training Centre project is a transformative project by Clare County Council to redevelop a vacant building on the marina in Kilrush into a new Maritime Training Centre. The Centre will provide a research and cutting-edge training base to serve the offshore renewable energy sector, cruise sector and maritime-related sector, supporting job creation and economic development in the region and enhancing the proposition of West Clare and the Shannon Estuary for sustainable marine-related development.

The fully completed facility will operate as a Maritime Training Centre creating 28 full-time jobs in Kilrush, providing a range of specialist mandatory maritime training courses to International Standards and Accreditations to c.1,200 visiting delegates to the town per year, and will also provide a research and training base for the offshore renewable energy sector which is emerging in the Atlantic Ocean and marine field research along the 100km of the Shannon Estuary.

This project (part-funded) is centred at Kilrush Marina and includes:

  • The purchase of a vacant building located at the marina
  • Development of ancillary maritime training infrastructure on site
  • Enhancement of the public realm around the site which is located on the line of the Old West Clare Railway and Wild Atlantic Way.


The Inis Cealtra Visitor Experience project seeks to develop Mountshannon as a tourism destination by taking advantage of its proximity to Inis Cealtra (Holy Island), one of the most significant ecclesiastical sites in Ireland, as well as other heritage attractions in the locality. The project elements are:

  • Repurposing and extension of the Old Rectory House as a visitor facility and community hub
  • Optimisation of wastewater treatment to accommodate development
  • Enhanced public realm works to improve connectivity in and around the village.


This project is an ambitious tourism, conservation and village regeneration project that will boost visitor numbers to the village and its surrounding region and will create and support sustainable rural employment.

Welcoming the funding announcement, Cllr Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach, Clare County Council, said: “This funding is very positive news and the projects will provide a major boost to Kilrush, Mountshannon, and County Clare as a whole. The Inis Cealtra visitor centre is a landmark project for East Clare that greatly adds to the overall tourism offering in the county, while the Kilrush Maritime Training Centre will put the town at the forefront of maritime training and research. I would like to thank Minister Humphreys and the Department for making this funding available and I look forward to seeing the projects progress.”

Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council, said: “It is hugely positive news for County Clare to be approved funding for these projects. I would like to commend the high quality of the successful applications. Each project will present significant opportunities and benefits to the local communities and the wider economy.”

Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Clare County Council, said: “The success of the Inis Cealtra Visitor Experience will continue to be based on a collaborative working relationship involving the Local Authority, the community of East Clare, and a range of State agencies.”

Liam Conneally, Director of Economic Development, Clare County Council, said: “The funding for the training centre and research base in Kilrush is very welcome. The project will support job creation and enable future opportunities in the maritime and renewable energy sectors. The Kilrush Maritime Training Centre will be a huge boost to the local economy and a huge addition to the area going forward.”

Page last reviewed: 18/11/22

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