The first major urban regeneration scheme in Donegal will be officially unveiled shortly.
The Church Lane Historic Towns Initiative, in Letterkenny, will be celebrated on Friday, 22 July. The big reveal ceremony will get underway at 5pm.
According to Donnan Harvey, secretary of the town’s Cathedral Quarter project, the driving force behind the redevelopment of the historic Church Lane, the work has been ‘an outstanding success’.
The area, he explained, has been transformed.
“We are delighted” stated Mr Harvey.
“Our mission statement when we started out was to save for future generations what is one of the oldest, most historic parts of ‘inner city’ Letterkenny.
“At the outset we were told the dereliction was so bad it was too late, that it couldn’t be done. But this proves that with the will there’s always a way. The Church Lane is now buzzing. It’s back to life.”
The timing of this event is particularly apt coming as it does on the same day as the opening of the first ever conference on Dereliction in Ireland.
‘Dereliction in Donegal and Beyond’ has been organised by Letterkenny Tidy Towns in conjunction with Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter. This unique conference starts at 11am in Dillons Hotel.
It will be officially opened by Deputy Peter Burke, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
The chief speakers at the conference will be Frank O’Connor and Jude Sherry from the Anois agency who started the Derelict Ireland campaign and brought the issue of Dereliction to the national stage.
Other major contributors to the conference will include Donegal County Heritage officer Joe Gallagher; broadcaster Lee Gooch who has been involved in the redevelopment of his own home; Kyle Thompson of the New Gate Arts Centre in the Fountain area of Derry and Colm Murray, Architectural Officer from the Heritage Council.
Preceding the conference on Thursday, 21st July there will be a special guided tour of Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter starting outside Dillons Hotel 7.30pm.
Kieran Kelly from Letterkenny History and Donnan Harvey will give those participating an insight as to the rich, varied and unique history of the locality.
Urging people to come along to the unveiling ceremony Mr Harvey paid tribute to all involved in The Historic Towns Initiative Project, which was co-ordinated by the Heritage Office of Donegal County Council.
He extended thanks to Dedadus Architects, who were engaged to oversee the €200,000 Historic Towns Initiative Funding – awarded by the Heritage Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage – and to John Doherty Construction Ltd, from Clonmany, who carried out the work.
Prior to the official unveiling at 5p.m there will be music by Comhaltas Letterkenny, starting at 4.30pm with refreshments being provided by local outlet, Wholegreen. Elusive Theatre and Maria McCormack will provide further entertainment.
To book a place at the ‘Dereliction in Donegal and Beyond Conference’, click on https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/derelict-in-donegal-conference-tickets-368816759857.