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Artist impression of plaza at the new museum at the Spanish Arch. Haley Sharpe Design via Failte Ireland

Fáilte Ireland makes its biggest investment ever in a tourist attraction to overhaul Galway museum

The agency is ploughing over €6 million into museum and new plaza near Spanish Arch.

FAILTE IRELAND IS investing a record €6.64 million to develop a new state-of-the art museum in Galway city.

The Galway City Museum, located at the historic Spanish Arch, will be redeveloped and rebranded as the Atlantic Museum Galway.

Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the history of the merchant tribes, Claddagh Basin and Spanish Armada through cutting-edge technology at the new museum.

Tourists will also be able to take in the picturesque vista of Galway Bay, the Claddagh and the River Corrib from a viewing point at the top of the Spanish Arch.

It is the single biggest Fáilte Ireland investment for a tourist attraction and will “transform the Spanish Arch district of Galway”, said Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Attractions Mary Stack.

“It is expected to generate €29.3 million in revenue for the region in its first five years of opening”, she added.

 The new three-storey interactive museum will be created at Comerford House, next to the current Galway City Museum, which stands on the left bank of the River Corrib.

It will highlight the influence the Atlantic has had on the people, cultures and traditions of the once known ‘Merchant City’. 

The square between the Spanish Arch and the existing museum will be remodelled into a new public space that will bring all elements of the attraction together.

Seán Kyne, Minister of State for Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht and the Islands made the official announcement at Galway City Museum today.

 “The Atlantic Museum Galway will be a hugely significant new attraction for Galway, the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland.

“Projects like this, and many others across the country, are critical not only for regional growth but for reinforcing Ireland’s reputation as a top-class visitor destination.”

Artist's impression - Plaza by night  (Credit - Haley Sharpe Design)  (1) Artist impression of the plaza at night. Haley Sharpe Design Haley Sharpe Design

The Fáilte Ireland investment of €6.64 million in the Atlantic Museum Galway comes under its Grants Scheme for Large Tourism Projects 2016-2020.

The total project cost, including funding from Galway City Council, will be €10.2 million.

Fáilte Ireland’s Stack said tourism is a sector that has seen significant growth in recent years but we are facing uncertainty with Brexit on the horizon.

“It’s even more important now that we develop new visitor attractions to give overseas tourists compelling reasons to visit Ireland”, she said.

“The Atlantic Museum Galway will be a game-changer for the region both in terms of the visitor numbers and revenue it will generate.

“It is just one of 47 large capital projects Fáilte Ireland is supporting across the country. Tourism is a highly competitive business and with attractions like this, Ireland will continue to stand out in the international marketplace.”

Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive of Galway City Council said he was delighted with Fáilte Ireland investment which he said will create a “new breed of museum in our city” and that it is a fitting legacy of the city’s year as a European Capital of Culture in 2020.

The National Tourism Development Authority is investing the €6.64 million to develop the new museum.

One in five overseas visitors to Ireland last year visited Galway on the trip, making it the third most popular destination in country.

Over 3.7m international visitors and over 4.7m domestic visitors visited the Wild Atlantic Way in 2019, its busiest year since 2014.

Michelle O'Keeffe
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