The popular East Clare visitor attraction of Craggaunowen is set to undergo a significant upgrade during 2024.

Clare County Council has announced a €1m investment in the popular East Clare visitor attraction, which reopens to the public for the 2024 season on St. Patrick’s Day.


Centred around a 16th century castle, the 20-acre site recreates what life would have been like for the Bronze Age inhabitants of Ireland and features reconstructions of ancient Irish architecture, including a dolmen, crannógs and the original ‘Brendan Boat’ used by Tim
Severin during his 1973 recreation of the transatlantic voyage of St. Brendan the Abbot.

Amongst the works earmarked for completion during 2024 is the upgrade of Craggaunowen’s signature crannógs and woven hut lake dwellings, along with the bridge that connects them to the remainder of the site. A new playground themed on St. Brendan’s Voyage will be developed, while significant upgrades to the public carpark, public toilet facilities, fencing and pathways will be carried out.

Other developments include the installation of wayfinding signage throughout the site and an audio-visual experience to complement the “Brendan Boat’.

Stephen Hanley, General Manager of Clare Tourism East commented, “Craggaunowen is an important landmark on the Clare tourism landscape, and it is a key contributor to the local economy. With the support of the Hunt Museum Trust, we are committed to investing in one of Ireland’s most important and best known archaeological open-air museums as part of a comprehensive capital investment programme in the Local Authority’s portfolio of visitor attractions.”

Pauline Lenihan, Site Manager at Craggaunowen said, “As someone who has worked at the Craggaunowen since it first opened, I very much welcome this much-needed investment. It is a very exciting development for staff, the local community and everyone associated with Craggaunowen as it will undoubtedly encourage more tourists to come and explore the roots of the people, homesteads, animals and artifacts of our Celtic ancestors of over 1,000 years ago which have touched and shaped how we live today.”

Clare County Council, supported by government, has invested more than €4m in Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Craggaunowen, Knappogue Castle and the retail unit at the Cliffs of Moher since the Shannon Heritage properties were transferred from The Shannon Airport Group in May 2023, while €2.9m has been invested in upgrading the Vandeleur Walled Garden and Visitor Centre in Kilrush.

An additional €7.8m has been earmarked for investment during 2024 in the Clare County Council owned portfolio of attractions, which includes Inis Cealtra (Holy Island Visitor Experience) in Mountshannon, the Cliffs of Moher Experience and Loop Head Lighthouse.




Michael McDonnell – Managing Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine & Plan Magazine


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