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?
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
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?
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
Q. How will it affect you?
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
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