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02 Dec 2021

Tipperary tourism to get a boost as Nenagh tourist office nears opening date

Tipperary tourism to get a boost as Nenagh tourist office nears opening date

The inside of Nenagh's new tourist office which is scheduled to open in November

Nenagh’s new tourist office is a monument to, and a celebration of, all the people and places around the area.

The office, which is situated in the former Town Hall on Banba Square, is due to open at the end of November following a recruitment campaign.

The bright and airy office designed by Nenagh woman Anne Scroope of Scroope Design, is chockful with photographs of some of the area’s famous sons and daughters, many courtesy of the Brendan Treacy Collection, and specially commissioned art pieces from the likes of Gerardine Wisdom, Josephine Geaney, Lynn Kirkham, Philip Ryan, Paul Finch and restored pieces by John Quinn, which includes a magnificent fireplace that lay hidden in the old building.

The warm and bright office is clad in specially designed wallpaper which features photographs from Brendan Treacy’s books.

Adorning one door is a unique piece of writing by local award winning author Donal Ryan, in which he desribes growing up in Newtown and what Nenagh meant to him.

A final line from it - “I love Nenagh” - was the inspiration for the tourist office’s glowing sign.

Donal donated his European Award for Literature to the office.

Others to donate special mementos are Bernadette Flynn, who gave her dancing shoes from Lord of the Dance, and Stephanie Browne, who donated a medal won by her Musical Theatre Academy Nenagh at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles in 2017.

Former Tipp hurler Michael Cleary donated his 1990 Allstar award, while Donncha Ryan donated a signed Ireland rugby jersey.

The former Legion of Mary drum that was acquired by Nenagh Ormond Brass Band and which now stands in Nenagh's new tourist office, which opens next month

“This is much more than a tourist office. It is a celebration of Nenagh and its people,” said Rosemary Joyce, district administrator of Nenagh MDC.

Among those people are the likes of peacemaker Fr Alec Reid, scientists JD Bernal and Edward Conway, and Stripe founder brothers Patrick and John Collison, with a caption clearly stating they come from Dromineer, thus nailing the fallacy that they are the “Limerick brothers”.

Ms Joyce recounts that she was told they used to do their homework in a local café when they attended Gaelscoil Urmhumhan in Nenagh.

There is a huge amount of local input into everything in the new office - from the art works even down to the carpet that was designed by Anne Scroope and laid by local store owner Brendan Galvin - and the photographs which were all framed by John Maher in Summerhill.

Robin Wallace has produced two spectacular video that will be on endless loops.

Like everything else last year, the plan for the office and to celebrate Nenagh 800 were hit by Covid-19, and Ms Joyce is “absolutely thrilled” to have got this far.

“I t has taken us a couple of years to get this far and we had to overcome a number of hurdles along the way, but one thing we found was the generosity of the people of Nenagh. They were all very keen to get involved. We have got a fantastic reaction from all those who have seen the pieces on display,” she said.

Visitors to the office thinking they are just coming in for tourist information will be in for a pleasant surprise with the amount of detail on the local area and its people.

“What they’ll get is a celebration of Nenagh, and Nenagh people,” said Ms Joyce.

But the office is also showing where Nenagh is in terms of its gateway to the Hidden Heartlands, its links to the lake, and it reflects the activities that are available in the area.

“It shows that Nenagh has something for everybody. What we really want to do is encourage people to come in here and spread the word on it and that will benefit Nenagh in terms of increasing the footfall in the area,” said Ms Joyce.

The council would see the tourist office as being able to play a major role in the whole historical / cultural quarter of the town for which they have so many proposals.

“We think that in a couple of years time this area will be transformed and will be buzzing with activity but will retain its authenticity,” said Ms Joyce.

She said the office was really Anne Scroope’s design.

“It was her project and being a Nenagh woman she took great pride in that. She had a vision of what she wanted to provide here and she certainly delivered on that,” she said.

Ms Joyce also paid tribute to contractors, who, she said, did a fantastic job and helped Ms Scroope realise her vision.

As part of the council’s long term vision for tourism in the area, they are hoping to develop a website to develop Nenagh, specifically, and the area around it.

They are also hoping that the new tourism officer will be able to co-ordinate with the different groups in the area and work with them.

“We have a number of key events that should become part of a calendar of events for Nenagh and promoted in that manner, such as Spleodar, Dromineer Nenagh Literary Festival, Castlefest, the Christmas Tractor Run. We want to be able to pull all those together to work as an overall Nenagh piece,” she said.

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