Proposed Heritage Centre for Holycross Abbey now under consideration

Noel Dundon

Reporter:

Noel Dundon

Email:

nd@tipperarystar.ie

Holycross Abbey.

Proposed heritage centre is under consideration at Holycross Abbey

Community at large is invited to have their say

After some speculation, a proposed Heritage Centre at Holycross Abbey is about to start the preliminary planning stage after having received strong support from government bodies and local TD’s.


The project has been developed by Jane Ryan from the Tipperary Heartland Tourism Group, John Bourke from the Holycross Community Network and Paul Vallely who brings experience in major project management from Australia, but currently resides near Ballycahill.


The project would see a new heritage centre constructed near the ruins adjacent to the Holycross Abbey, while the ruins themselves would be restored to some degree to allow visitors to inspect the ancient sites without disturbance to the old stone structures.


The ruins include an Abbott’s residence and infirmary which go back to the 15th century. Some of the ancient structures have been described as ‘the only surviving example of (their) type in a Cistercian monastery in Ireland’.
The new Heritage Centre would include displays covering the rich history of the Abbey, the relics of the Cross of Christ that are contained within the Abbey, as well as the history of the surrounding area.


The concept for the Heritage Centre was presented to a number of senior officers from Tipperary County Council and the Office of Public Works (OPW). All felt the idea was worthy of detailed consideration. As a consequence, a number of aspects were identified for targeting such as conservation of existing structures and items of archaeological significance, internal and exterior design, feasibility study and how the Centre might best support the local community. Strategic partnerships are also being created in order to source the significant amount of funding required for the project.


Furthermore, critical archaeological surveys and assessments will be commenced early next year before any work might be commenced.
An important aspect of this project is the need for community consultation, particularly with the village of Holycross so they are made aware of progress and that the proposed Centre benefits from their ideas. The Steering Group are therefore inviting expressions of interest from residents of the Holycross Ballycahill Parish to become a member of a Community Consultation Group. Any resident of Holycross who wishes to express an interest in joining the group should contact John Bourke on 085 8635374 or email jvbourke@gmail.com


The Steering Group are also determined the solemn nature of Holycross Abbey will not be compromised. Speaking on behalf of the Group, Paul Vallely said it is important to note this project is not about creating a tourism fun-park, but a respectful and authentic exhibition for visitors who wish to experience the unique history and heritage of the Abbey and of the surrounding area”. “In saying that, however, we expect to see many benefits to the local economy if the project succeeds” Mr Vallely added.