The enhanced Portaleen Viewing Point in Glengad was officially opened on Wednesday for the public.
The viewing location was officially opened by Cllr Martin McDermott, Leas-Chathaoirleach of Donegal County Council.
The project received €50,000 funding under the CLAR programme (Ceantair Laga Árd Riachtanais). CLAR funding is targeted at infrastructure projects in rural areas that have suffered from severe population decline. It is a mechanism for supporting local regeneration, fostering a sense of place and breathing new life into peripheral communities.
The event celebrated the provision of a safe viewing point with vehicle parking, bi-lingual information/orientation panels, a newly constructed natural stone boundary wall, new enhanced fencing, landscaping, accessible picnic benches and seating. This type of infrastructure provides a setting for local people and visitors to appreciate the landscape and cultural links to the land and sea.
The addition of bi-lingual information panels at the viewing point is the latest development of an ongoing project to enhance visitor experience on the coastal touring route of the Wild Atlantic Way. Portaleen Viewing Point is a place where the community and tourists can now come together in unobstructed views across the coastal landscape, working pier and the Atlantic Ocean.
Leas-Chathaoirleach, Councillor Martin McDermott explained that “this is an example of how the local authority can work with local communities to energise very special places like Glengad and share them with the world.”
The bi-lingual interpretative panels unveiled provide local orientation and a short history of the local areas. The accessible seating and picnic benches overlooking the panoramic vista of Portaleen Pier and Glengad enhance the recreational amenities for the community and visitors to the area. The increase in visitor numbers that this will bring will support the local economy and help sustain the local community. In this sense Portaleen Viewing Point is a natural asset of the Glengad area, and will deliver both social and economic benefits in the years and decades to come.
The project is an example of true collaboration between central government, Donegal County Council and the community led Glengad Development Association. The Department of Rural and Community Development provided 90% of the funding. This was match funded by Donegal County Council and the Glengad Community Association.
The information on the bi-lingual panels was gathered from local sources including local Glengad historian Sheila McClay and the pupils and teachers from Scoil Cholmcille, Glengad which gives it true authenticity. In addition to this, the local school children contributed artwork which is incorporated into the signage.
Shane Byrne, Manager of the Glengad Community centre acted as MC for the event. Keynote speakers, included Cllr Martin McDermott Leas Chathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Rev Father Peter Devlin, Malin Parish and Kevin McGonigle from the Glengad Community Development Association.
With members of the local community in attendance alongside key stakeholders including the Inishowen Elected Members, representatives of Donegal County Council, The Glengad Community Association, teachers and pupils from the local primary Scoil Cholmcille, it made for an inspiring event.
The outcome of the project is an enhanced outdoor recreation amenity. Land owners Eileen and John Doherty who played a generous role in the development were publicly thanked.
Donegal County Council acknowledged that everyone worked really hard to deliver this project on schedule including the contractor Henry Plant.
Kevin McGonigle, Treasurer of Glengad Community Development Association felt that “these types of developments show the wider commitment of all stakeholders in working to develop a resilient Glengad for the 21st Century.”
The project was co-ordinated and managed by Donegal County Council’s, Community Development Directorate. Fiona Doherty from Donegal County Council explained that “Portaleen Viewing Point is one more example of how the power of collaboration is transforming the local social and economic landscape one step at a time.”