A NEW visitor experience at Knowth, Co Meath has officially been opened today, with organisations involved hoping it will lead to creation and tourism recovery.
Knowth, which makes up part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne, is a major repository of megalithic art, containing more than half of the known megalithic art in Europe in one single location.
Fáilte Ireland has invested almost €1.4million into the new tourist attraction. Through the partnership with the National Monuments Service and the Office of Public Works, which manages Knowth as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Property of Brú na Bóinne, visitors to Knowth will be welcomed for a greatly extended season for the first time.
The enhanced experience includes improved interpretation to tell the story of the history of the 50-year archaeological excavation of the site by Professor George Egan, the significance of the site’s Megalithic art and its importance in national and international terms.
Fáilte Ireland estimates the development of the visitor experience at Knowth will support 266 additional jobs in the Meath area and generate €1.6million in additional tourism revenue over 5 years.
Commenting at the launch, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media Catherine Martin TD said Knowth is one of the most culturally significant sites in Ireland and Europe.
"The new visitor experience will allow domestic and international visitors to step back in time and immerse themselves in our rich Megalithic culture.
"This attraction will add another unique element to the tourism offering at Brú na Bóinne, encouraging more people to visit Meath and the surrounding region, and generating significant economic impact for the area.”
CEO of Fáilte Ireland Paul Kelly said that in order for Ireland to recover post-pandemic, "we must have stand out attractions to entice visitors, domestic and international, to explore Ireland."
"The new visitor experience at Knowth will attract more visitors to the region, support new jobs and has been executed in a sustainable way to ensure this historically important site is preserved for generations to come. We predict Knowth will support 266 additional jobs in the Meath area and generate €1.6million in additional tourism revenue over 5 years. It will also relieve some of the existing pressure at Newgrange by offering visitors an additional experience, as well as extending visitor dwell time in the Boyne Valley."
The new Knowth visitor hub is a continuation of the upgraded Brú na Bóinne visitor experience offering a large digital exhibition exploring the rock art of Knowth and accompanied by engaging interactives and audio visuals. The investment includes toilets and an upgraded OPW parking facility to accommodate a new fleet of electric buses developed using sustainable tourism principles to minimise visitor impact to the site.