Butler Trail signage will be tourism boost

Bernie Commins

Bernie Commins

A proposed signage strategy for the Butler Trail in South Tipperary was unveiled at this month’s meeting of Clonmel Borough Council, which would see dedicated signage, information panels and banners in each of the three towns on that trail - Carrick-on-Suir, Clonmel and Cahir. The proposal, which is estimated to cost in the region of €300,000 was welcomed as a wonderful benefit for each of the towns on the trail, with great potential to build on tourism for the area.

Launched in Carrick-on-Suir earlier this year by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar and a South Tipperary Tourism Company initiative, the Butler Trail aims to increase the awareness of the legacy of the Butler family in the county, the heritage associated with it and promote it to visitors. This launch coincided with the publication of a map and guide of the Butler Trail and the signage strategy is the next step in the trail’s path.

Joanne Hughes, heritage and tourism development animator with the South Tipperary Tourism Company presented the proposed signage plan for Clonmel, at this month’s meeting of the council, and said that it is hoped that an element of the extensive strategy will be implemented by the end of 2013.

She explained that in association with the National Roads Authority (NRA) and Failte Ireland, the Butler Trail in Clonmel, Carrick-on-Suir and Cahir will be signposted on nearby motorways. Large signposts will welcome vistors at the major gateways to towns, with smaller versions located at minor gateways and banners wil be positioned in car parks. These signs will be green in colour and it is proposed that other signage will be re-coloured to match, creating a unified approach to towns, according to Ms Hughes. Gateways to towns will have bilingual signs and the preferred option will be to erect the English sign on one side with the Irish language version on the opposite side of the road. Depending on the location these signs may need to be staggered one-after-the-other and the least preferred option would contain both languages on one sign. The location of the gateway and certain other constraints will dictate the positioning of such signs.

The main car park in each town, along with its banners, will also have an orientation board with two Butler inspired stories as well as details of the trail within the town. In the town itself there will be interpretative panels which will give further information to tourists about the Butler family and the walking trail. Children will also be catered for with a unique edu-tainment package included so there will be plenty for families to do on their arrival to the Butler Trail towns in South Tipperary.

The signage strategy is not cheap however and range of options have to be looked at to raise the money involved.

“This is quite an expensive signage strategy and is not something that we will be able to do in one fell swoop. We will take an element of the strategy and apply to the South Tipperary Development Company for funding,” explained Ms Hughes adding that the steering committee in each of the towns will discuss fundraising options also.

Each town will also have its own walking trail with and traders will also be brought on board to carry new information booklets for people which will contain a wealth of local information and stories. It is hope that this will also increase footfall in the town centre.