By Dan Walsh
A cable car connection from a new car and coach park located on the Turret Rocks, high above the River Slaney, to Enniscorthy Castle and the town centre is included in a €30 million proposal to transform Enniscorthy into a thriving economic hub and landmark tourist destination.
Members were supportive of the forward-thinking plans following a presentation by Wexford County Council’s Head of Special Projects, Brian Galvin, at today’s monthly meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council held under Covid-19 guidelines at Kilcannon Garden Centre on the Old Dublin Road.
Mr Galvin described Enniscorthy Castle as being “in good condition” and “a very important asset” and is central to the Council’s plans for a redevelopment and enhancement programme that would include an adjoining visitor centre with retail and café facilities together with an audio-visual experience to re-imagine the historic beginnings of Enniscorthy.
Mr Galvin said the cable car idea is sustainable and Austrian experts believe it can work for Enniscorthy and it would be the only experience of its kind in this country. The members were given vision of the future when Santa Claus could arrive by cable car!
Developing Enniscorthy would be based on four ‘squares’ – Abbey Square, Market Square, St. Mary’s Church and Enniscorthy Castle. It was suggested that a fifth ‘square’ be added, but it was outlined that this suggestion was addressed under the Templeshannon Regeneration scheme.
Phase one, which is urged to get under way as soon the way is clear, focussing on the castle at an estimated cost of €8 million; Phase 2 is the European style Black Box or audio-visual experience with a café and associated tours and attractions, at an estimated cost of €9 million. And to complete the project the cable car experience would accomplish the transformation for another €13 million.
The presentation lasted an hour and members were unanimous in their support to the project. Deputy John Browne, who was an invited guest at the meeting, said Enniscorthy has the potential to be an international tourist centre.
Cllr John O’Rourke felt that the cable car idea had been discussed before. “The cable car will make Enniscorthy stand out and the next generation will be so high tech it is a step forward. It is a fantastic idea and should have been done long and ever ago.”
Cllr Aidan Browne described the project as “very interesting, very ambitious”. Cllr Cathal Byrne suggested that attracting 140,000 visitors a year “it needs to be ambitious” and while he agreed with ideas around the castle he felt strongly about the republican and rebel tradition such as 1798 and other rebellions. “The castle is not unique, but it has to be connected to the overall package,” he concluded.
Cllr Jackser Owens complained about the lack of facilities for visitors coming to Vinegar Hill. “No toilet facilities and no access for coaches.” Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan also felt the project was very ambitious but would be good for the town.
Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy chaired the meeting in her role as newly elected Cathaoirleach of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council.