By Dan Walsh at Enniscorthy Council Meeting
Funding is to be sought for the development of Enniscorthy’s most famous landmark and battlefield following the presentation of a draft masterplan entitled Vinegar Hill Amenity Park and Heritage Site at the June meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council.
The draft deals with two headings – short term actions and long-term actions – and was presented by District Manager Bernie Quigley at the request of the members who have been campaigning for a better deal for Vinegar Hill.
Cllr Jackser Owens said action on the report is a priority. “If Vinegar Hill was in Killarney it would be a goldmine?” He called for someone working on the site five days a week, toilets, seats and a guide to explain what happened in these fields, he was critical of the lack of signage, but admitted; “This is a start and it will put Vinegar Hill on the map and funding should be sought.”
Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan questioned some of the items listed in the draft report and she was very supportive of promoting the site and acknowledged that “a lot of work has been done on the hill.” She suggested that “the Council might buy some acreage?”
Cllr John O’Rourke described the draft report as “a positive step forward to put Enniscorthy on the map”. He suggested that since “we are trying to sell Vinegar Hill to visitors we should encourage visitors to the National 1798 Rebellion Centre also – I know it is a different experience -both have a lot in common.
Ms Quigley said the 1798 Centre do send visitors to Vinegar Hill.
Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy had questions about the walking trails, bus parking or drop off facilities at the bottom of the hill. Cllr Aidan Browne said it was great to see something happening on Vinegar Hill and added; “I would like to see a walking trail between Vinegar Hill and the 1798 Centre established.”
Cathaoirleach Cllr Cathal Byrne, on his last opportunity in the chair, was impressed and noted “a lot of good ideas here at the meeting”, but he reminded the members that it was just a draft, but looked forward to the full plan, hopefully in September.
The short-term suggestions include two panels of heritage interpretive, pedestrian counters, a dry toilet trialled to the end of September, ecology audit and biodiversity interpretation, develop a formal walking trail and signage and passive seating.
The long-term action, which could take a little longer to achieve, according to Director of Services, Carolyne Godkin, would include parking and access, battlefield interpretation strategy and tourism promotions.