Portumna marina on Lough Derg
The recently refurbished Portumna Marina and Camper Van Recreational Park at Castle Marina in Portumna has been shortlisted for an Excellence in Local Government Awards 2017 of Chambers Ireland.
The project led by Galway County Council and involving Waterways Ireland, the OPW, Failte Ireland and the Lough Derg Marketing Group is the first ‘Aires’ type facility managed by a local authority in Ireland.
It was developed in response to the increasing prevalence of recreational vehicles and camper vans now found in Ireland and offers 18 fully serviced parking bays for the vehicles at a very popular scenic location beside Portumna Castle, Lough Derg and Portumna Forest Park.
The marina and toilet block was upgraded to make it more attractive for boat users to visit and moor overnight.
The area was landscaped to make it a more attractive location for day trippers to visit and engage with the surrounding attractions.
The project arose from community consultation that Galway County Council began over 10 years ago and has been ongoing ever since.
The Council has continuously involved the local Chamber of Commerce and community organisations in the planning for tourism development of the town including formal consultations for the Lough Derg Roadmap, Portumna Local Area Plan, and the Lough Derg Blueway.
Last year Galway County Council commissioned consultants to engage with key stakeholders in Portumna to develop a masterplan to position it as an eco destination for visitors.
The council is now working with local stakeholders and community organisations to roll out the implementation of this Masterplan.
This also involves funding community events and festivals and development of community facilities.
The council is channelling national funding streams such as town and village enhancement and REDZ funding to local groups to support their activities.
The council is also funding the activities of the Tidy Towns Group and sporting organisations.
The investment in this facility is one of the projects being implemented under the Lough Derg Road map which aims to further develop the lake as a tourism destination.
Over the past number of years over €2m has been invested in tourism infrastructure around the lake through a partnership of Failte Ireland, the county councils in Clare, Galway and Tipperary and Waterways Ireland.
This includes improved road signage, development of a Blueway, development of engagement and access points to the lake, implementation of national marketing campaigns
Increasing visitor numbers to the Lough Derg region is the objective of this partnership and there are ongoing plans to increase the visitor attractions in the region in order to further build the tourism product around Lough Derg.
The winner of the each award category will be announced by Chambers Ireland at the awards ceremony on November 23 in Dublin