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PROJECT DETAILS

Q. Where is it?
The location of the proposed centre is on the old dump/gravel site and adjoining field on the left as you approach the Suspension Bridge on leaving town. With the agreement of the Lansdowne Estate and Kerry County Council the land is available for a community project.

Q. What does the building consist of?
The building is made up of 7 interlocking galleries with floor to ceiling windows looking East to West and filling the space with light. The Viewing Level offers stunning views of Kenmare Bay from its elevated position. The Centre also has a small café, shop and administration offices. In front of the Centre as you approach it is The Green which can be used for a number of outdoor activities like sculpture exhibitions, summer theatre etc, 138 car parking spaces and a picnic area.

Q. Who designed it?
After much consideration the committee shortlisted 3 architects for the project. Reviewing their work Niall McLaughlin was chosen for his portfolio of environmental sensitive, inspirational and dramatic designs. Originally from Dublin, Niall visited Derrynane and South Kerry annually as a child resulting in a very deep understanding of the culture and geology of the area. This is very much evident in the design of the Centre. The linear makeup of the galleries is a reflection of the rock formation of Kenmare running East to West. The base of the building is sandstone with limestone cladding to the walls mirroring the formation of Kenmare and the majestic site that it occupies. The vertical shapes of the galleries are influenced by the first creators of employment in Kenmare, and in particular a photo Niall found in the library, of six nuns making lace. While striking, the design reflects the core of what created the Kenmare of today both commercially and physically.

Environmentally the building, inside and out, employs the most advanced technology in natural heating and cooling, water supply, light, air circulation and landscaping.

Q. How much will it cost and who is going to pay for it?
The estimated development cost is in the region of €12.5m. A Project Development Grant of up to 50% has been applied for from Fáilte Ireland. The remaining funds will be raised through a number of Patrons as outlined separately. Once the Centre is operational, it is expected that entrance fees will sustain overheads with any profits being reinvested in future exhibitions.

Q. Who will come to it?
Other community’s experience shows that cultural attractions of this magnitude act as a catalyst to draw international and domestic visitors in significant numbers. The Cork/Kerry region attracts around 3.6 million visitors annually with Kerry attracting the vast majority. This market forms the foundation on which we can build.

More importantly this project offers the region the potential to establish and market itself to a new audience. It’s a market motivated by a culture/design/environment experience from mainland Europe, England and the USA in that order. Our international access through Cork, Shannon and Kerry airports is good. The environment and reputation of the area are very significant factors that compliment the Centre and complete an extremely attractive destination product on the world stage. Events such as the Berlin Arts Festival to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, are marketing opportunities the region can go to with pride and expose the area to a whole new market.

Q. How will it affect you?
For business people it will have a direct impact on your business through increased visitor numbers to Kenmare. Kenmare’s quality tourism base will act as a superb catalyst for people coming to see the dramatic architecture and content of the building. They will choose to stay and dine in Kenmare for a number of days because of the Centre. For tourists visiting the area it offers the ideal destination for a day visit which in turn brings business to Kenmare. For local residents the social development of the community this Centre offers is immense. Gala Openings, recitals, lectures from visiting artists and classes in poetry, art and music are just some of the events that will be scheduled that have a significant local social context.

Q. Will it be profitable?
The Centre will open without debt. The viability of the Centre will depend on the number of people it attracts each year. Muckross House, the main all weather tourist attraction in Kerry, attracts approximately 200,000 visitors a year. We are budgeting a footfall of 90,000 visitors with a breakeven threshold of 73,000 visitors annually. Considering the profile of this project and the marketing support it will receive the projections seem reasonable.

Q. Will it create employment?
In addition to the many construction jobs it will provide over an 18 month period it will employ 10 full time and 6 seasonal positions. More significantly it will be an underlying factor in the sustainability of businesses and employment in the region.

Q. Who will own it?
A Not for Profit Trust representing the people of Kenmare, Kerry and Ireland. The Board of Trustees will consist of 9 seats. The Funding Platforms will be represented by 2 seats, Failte Ireland Cultural/Art nomination, Kerry County Council Cultural/Art nomination and the Naming Sponsor will have 1 seat each. The remaining 4 seats are to be nominated. The Board will be responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of the Centre, including funding and programming policies.

 

 

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