THE success of the Loophead lighthouse tourism initiative has been hammered home in the ﬁrst week of its operation as thousands ﬂocked to the most westerly point of the county.
Figures secured by The Clare People this week revealed that over 2,000 people have now passed through the doors of the famous landmark building – a volume that has already prompted its Clare County Council promoters to extend the opening hours.
“It was initially planned to open from 10am to 4pm, but now we’re going to go from 10am to 6pm,” a council spokesperson revealed. “This is because of the interest that’s there. We have had over 2,000 visitors in its ﬁrst week.”
The ofﬁcial opening of the light house took place last Monday week, and brought to an end a two-year process that was started when the idea for opening the facility was ﬁrst ﬂoated at Clare County Council.
Local Loophead councillor, Gabriel Keating, made the initial move in July 2009 when calling on “Clare County Council in conjunction with tourism bodies and the Commissioners of Irish Lights to develop the lighthouse as a tourism centre”.
It was the Fine Gael representative’s ﬁrst ever motion to Clare County Council, having been elected to Clare’s premier decision-making body the previous month and now on the back of the facility’s early popularity has called for additional facilities to be added to the visitor attraction.
“This is only the start,” said Cllr Keating. “This is bringing jobs to the peninsula and there are 10 people employed. I would hope that a museum can be developed in one of the rooms on site. The past week has shown the potential that’s there in Loophead and it’s about moving it on and bringing more people into the area,” he added.
Clare County Council’s Director of Services, Ger Dollard, has revealed that “in the autumn we will be continuing to work with our partners in Shannon Development and Loophead tourism to arrive at a consensus on the future development of the tourism product”.