Blasket Centre in Dingle, Co Kerry has got a new lease of life with an updated visitor exhibition, theatre, café, reception, and retail area.
The Office of Public Works appointed Marcon to work alongside design team Bright to deliver the fit-out within the existing centre.
The Blasket Centre tells the story of the Blasket Islands and the unique community who lived there until the mid-20th century. It details the community’s struggle for existence, folklore & customs, and their extraordinary literary legacy and how emigration and decline led to the final evacuation of the island in 1953.
It is a striking building and given the unique shape the visitor exhibits are housed in various rooms off a long corridor with a large window at the end which gives a clear view of Great Blasket island.
The story is told using a variety of means, such as, artefacts, artworks, and interactive displays with features to feel, listen and experience the sounds, images, and elements of the islander’s way of life. New audio-visual displays have been developed to bring a new dimension to the rich story of Island life.
Welcoming the official opening of the centre, Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said:
“The story of the Blasket Islands is one of great interest to domestic and international audiences. The renewed visitor experience at the Blasket Centre is an exciting and imaginative opportunity for visitors to engage with the richness of that culture.”
Heritage Contract Manager, Martin McErlean commented “This is a great achievement. We have worked with Bright on several prestigious fit out contracts, and it was a pleasure to get to deliver the fit out of this unique building. This project reflects a real collaboration between all stakeholders to create the building we see today. Thank-you to Bright and OPW, our own team and supply chain for all their hard work that will dramatically improve the overall visitor experience.”
The location of the centre is amongst Irelands most iconic destinations also and has been designated as a Wild Atlantic Way Signature Discovery Point due to its cultural richness.
Externally, there is a viewing platform, which opened to the public last year, located on the clifftop which creates a focal point and enables visitors a clear view of the beautiful Dingle Peninsula and Wild Atlantic Way and Great Blasket Island.
Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland added:
“Investing in standout attractions that tell the rich story of Irish heritage creates new and unique reasons for visitors to choose Ireland, while creating employment in rural Ireland and its urban centres. The Dingle Peninsula is home to a wonderful array of natural and heritage attractions, and the development of this new centre and the spectacular vistas from the viewing platform at the Blasket Islands create another reason to visit Kerry. We are pleased to have developed this project under our strategic partnership with the OPW and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, adding another exciting focal point for people to come and discover along the Wild Atlantic Way.”
The new centre opened on the 27th June. With an updated café, retail area and ample parking on site, it is a perfect way to the day.