Visitors will be able to walk around walk one of the famous blowholes at Downpatrick Head as part of a major tourism development at the beauty spot, located outside Ballycastle in North Mayo.
The Blowhole Commemorative Installation, announced by Minister of State for Tourism and Sports Michael Ring TD, is being designed and installed by American architect, Travis Price.
The project will be funded with a grant of €640,000 as part of “must-see” Signature Discovery Points for the Wild Atlantic Way tourist trail.
The Blowhole Commemorative installation will consist of a walkway around the rim of the blowhole which will allow the visitor to experience the natural blowhole in a safe manner.
A visitor experience of such close proximity is not possible at many other blowhole sites in Ireland.
Dún Briste (The Broken Fort), a spectacular sea stack off Downpatrick Head, is a huge tourist attraction in Co Mayo.
The project will represent one of the key, must-see Signature Discovery Points along the WAW.
A gateway to Erris
It will form a compelling reason to visit the North Mayo stretch of the route and will act as a gateway to Erris and the Belmullet Peninsula.
It will also complement and augment existing attractions in the area, the most notable of which is the Céide Fields to the east as well as the other six ‘Spirit of Place’ installations in various locations in North Mayo, all of which are located on or very close to the WAW.
The funding allocated will also cover the restoration of an old World War II Watch Tower, conservation measures for St. Patrick’s Chapel, some improvements to existing car parking facilities and additional signage and interpretation.
The funding is part of the overall €10 million being invested by Fáilte Ireland during 2014 to ensure that the route, which stretches from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in Co. Cork, draws significant interest from overseas visitors.