The Shannon Pot where the Council now hope to develop a major new visitor attraction.

Shannon Pot plan bubbles to surface

A hugely ambitious multi-million euro proposal to build a tourist centre developed around the history and lore of the ‘Shannon Pot’ has been shortlisted for investment.

Up to €6.6 million could be pumped into developing the ‘Shannon Pot Discovery Centre’, an extension to the already hugely popular Burren Park.

The Shannon Pot, birthplace to Ireland’s longest river, is a naturally fluctuating pool located in the townland of Derrylahan near Cuilcagh. From there, the Shannon travels 280 kilometres from its source in Cavan to the Shannon Estuary in Limerick.

To realise this ambition, Cavan County Council has applied for funding through Fáilte Ireland’s ‘Platforms for Growth’ initiative.

The application, worth €4.9m, with matched funding from the council’s own coffers, is being sought under the funding theme of ‘Immersive, Culture and Heritage’.

Its delivery would be a major boost for Fáilte Ireland’s own ‘Hidden Heartlands’ brand. It would also be another significant lift for the west of the county, which in recent years has benefited enormously from the UNESCO-recognised Marble Arch Global Geopark.

If funded, it would mark the largest investment at the northern point of the ‘Hidden Heartlands’ map; while also developing links to other sites of importance along the Shannon River course.

The Anglo-Celt understands Cavan County Council has been engaging with whizzes within Ireland’s national tourism development authority for almost a year-and-a-half, fine-tuning its proposal, before finally making a submission.

Running from 2019 to 2022, and part of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 strategy, Fáilte Ireland’s ‘Platforms for Growth’ encourages development of new visitor attractions of scale.

From over 200 applications initially, the Cavan ‘Shannon Pot Discovery Centre’ proposal has been whittled down to the final 20.

Closing interviews between Fáilte Ireland funding chiefs and the council’s own project development team took place last month, setting-up what will no doubt be a tense several week wait before the outcome is made known, expected sometime before the Christmas period.

“We’ve been developing this idea with Fáilte Ireland over the last, probably 15-months at this stage. The final phase of the process began in September, interviews for which took place last month, and we’d be hopeful an announcement of some kind might be made by the end of the year,” explained Director of Services, Brendan Jennings.

Speaking to The Anglo-Celt about the proposal, he said the the council were proud of their proposal and idea to develop what Mr Jennings claims could one day be a “substantial” tourism draw for the region.

Incorporating elements such as augmented reality and embracing the history and heritage of the site including lore tracing back to the legendary Finn MacCool and the Fianna, Mr Jennings believes such a centre could attract upwards of 100,000 visitors per year even by year three.

“It would be huge investment for Cavan, and in particular the rural west of the county. We believe we have made a very strong case, we put together a very comprehensive application, and it would be a major addition to the Ireland Hidden Heartlands project. The Shannon Pot is unique in itself,” says Mr Jennings.

“The theme of the funding is heritage and culture, and while the Shannon Pot is geographical in nature, there is so much more to it in terms of his history, the stories, the folklore that exists, the impact on families in the region. You can tell the entire history of West Cavan from around the Shannon Pot, but more specifically the discovery centre that we have planned and hope to build will tell that the story of the Shannon down to its estuary in Limerick, and everything in between. It will be a fabulous facility, if it gets funding.”

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