The Lough Derg Monster and one very brave hare
Even if you are a Nenagh native, the new tourist office may surprise you. Located in Banba Square, the tourist office is an exhibition space filled with achievement, art, myth, and natural heritage.
The new tourism officer, Victoria Lee, is on hand with information and to provide tours.
"I can't wait for people to come in and see what we've done here because there's so much attention to detail, and I think local people will be excited to see people they know or themselves in the photos," said Ms Lee.
Meet the New tourist officer
Ms Lee took up the position of Tourism Officer last week. She has a degree in hospitality management, a cert in travel and tourism and a strong interest in historical places.
"So, most of the places I've worked even if they have been hospitality, they have been of a historical nature so when you are working on reception in a place that's a castle you have to know about the castle and surrounding areas. I like places that have a bit of interest.
I liked the idea of the tourist office because it was new and upcoming as well, so that kind of drew me to it. It was a new venture," said Ms Lee.
She said her role allows her to learn every day, and she is excited to help people find out more about the area.
"So my role will be to give out information it is a tourist office so anything tourist wise like bus timetables, or if they want to book an activity, I can contact whatever activity they want or tell them about activities or bed and breakfasts or places to eat in the area.
But also we can give a tour because as you can see we have an exhibition here as well so we can give a tour of the tourist office."
The people, characters and achievements of Nenagh
The Nenagh Tourist Office is more than a traditional information centre. Visitors can go and learn about artists, sporting legends, and natural history. Ms Lee says some of her favourite pieces include the reception desk and the I heart Nenagh neon sign.
I like the desk. This is from the CBS. It was refurbished by John Quinn, and if you look carefully, there are cigarette marks from the teacher at the time.
I like the I heart Nenagh neon sign because people can see that from the window so people can see we are here, and it looks nice in photos as well, and I think people will be happy to take their photo under that. The Lough Derg monster is quite nice as well.
Paul Finch created the Lough Derg Monster. While there are few stories today, there were rumours of sightings of a monster on Lough Derg in the 1960s and perhaps the 1930s.
The I heart Nenagh sign was inspired by a piece by author Donal Ryan and the American graphic designer Milton Glasser's work I heart NY. The piece written by Donal Ryan is also printed on the tourist office door.
Senior Executive Officer, Nenagh Municipal District, Rosemary Joyce, who was instrumental in developing the tourist office, says her favourites include the work and tributes to local artists.
"I think the links with the local artists have been fantastic. The work of the likes of Lynn Kirkham, of Paul Finch of Geraldine Wisdom, Josephine Geaney I think their work is outstanding and that they're thought-provoking; they all sit in the overall concept," said Ms Joyce.
Most of the artwork was created by local artists, and many more artists, authors and sportspeople are represented in photos on the walls.
Ann Scroope of Scroope Design designed the Nenagh tourist office.Ann Scroope is herself from Nenagh but is based now in Cork.
The Future of the Nenagh Tourist Office
The hope for the Nenagh Tourist Office is that it will grow and benefit local people and businesses. Ms Lee has some ideas about some events in the future.
"Lots of people in Nenagh donated things, so it would be nice to keep that connection going. And to have special themed events and get schools involved as well and just to see it move from stage to stage to get people involved more, and hopefully, they will come in and be excited, and they will like to display their things, said Ms Lee.
Ms Joyce would like local businesses with tourist activities to come forward so the tourist office can promote them to visitors.
"So, think cross-collaboration between sectors involved in the tourism industry is really important.
We believe the tourist office will be beneficial to the town in terms of increasing footfall and that will have a spin-off effect on local businesses in the area, particularly for cafes and restaurants. We just hope people will enjoy it, and they will take the time to come and see what's on offer, said Ms Joyce.
The Nenagh Tourist Office is now open to the public. Visitors are welcome between 10am and 5pm Tuesday to Saturday [incl lunchtime] all year.
All visitors are welcome, but groups are asked to book in advance. The office is in Banba Square in the old town hall next to the Nenagh Arts Centre.
"Probably the thing I like most about the tourist office is that it's so bright and welcoming. You have the huge big windows looking in, and it's a window on Nenagh really, and it's a nice place to be, said Ms Joyce.
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