Fine Gael Kildare South Martin Heydon TD has this week said that the new Tourism initiative from Failte Ireland “Irelands Ancient East” provides a great opportunity for Kildare to showcase its rich heritage and many important sights. He was speaking following the launch of the initiative this week.

“This new initiative is designed by Failte Ireland to build on the wealth of historical and cultural assets in the east and south of Ireland to mirror the success of the Wild Atlantic Way.  I see this initiative as a huge opportunity for South Kildare to promote it’s rich and varied history.

“We have an important and valuable heritage in the South of the County that can be used to encourage visitors to come to and more importantly stay around this area.  From the unique Quaker Village of Ballitore to the Abbey in Castledermot, Burtown House and the new Ernest Shackleton Trail, the Moone High Cross and the fort at Dun Ailinne outside Kilcullen.  In just a small Geographical area South Kildare can boast many of the ancient and medieval treasures that this initiative is designed to promote.  Many of these sights are currently featured as part of the South Kildare Heritage Trail.

“Too often however, I think the benefit and value of this rich history is not fully known or appreciated by those living on it’s doorsteps.  Heritage is seen by some as an interference, something that gets in the way of development and slows down progress but that is not the case. I am delighted that we now have a programme that can help us to prove that.

 “Kildare Town and Athy have developed Heritage Centres to help to promote this rich local history.  As chair of the Friends of Athy Heritage Centre I see at first hand the work that goes into developing and promoting the heritage of the region.  The Heritage Centre in Kildare Town  is the centrepiece of that town proudly promoting the stories of St Brigid and the unique attributes of the Curragh plains. I hope that we can now build on that work for the benefit of the many fine tourism providers in South Kildare.

“I hope to meet with officials from Failte Ireland in the coming weeks to see how we in South Kildare can build on this new initiative to ensure that we maximize the value and benefit from the assets we have on our doorsteps.”