Renovation work at the Cooley Peninsula Tourist Office is unearthing more than expected and is providing quite a window into the past.
Workers moved in on 7 January to the Tourist Office to undertake the process of renovating the building.
As a listed building the exterior is more or less untouchable, but the interior of the famous Carlingford landmark is also very much protected.
Speaking to the Democrat, Frances Taylor from the Cooley Peninsula Tourist Office says the discovery of the stationmaster’s room means that the perservation of the inside is every bit as important as the the outside.
“The task for the architects is to modernise while preserving the classical features of the buidling, and I have full confidence in them.”
The renovation works are set to be completed by the end of June, and the project has a kitty of roughly €200,000, most of which is a Louth Leader grant.
Builders have uncovered the original doorways and flooring, which will be preserved
The building is roughly 1,500 square feet and is separated into the station master’s room, the central space and what is now being used as the tourist office.
In the past the building, which closed as a railway in 1941, has had a number of different incarnations, having been both a doctors surgery at one stage, while at another stage used as a public toilet.
The new building will alsohave a D’Arcy McGee intereptive space. Thomas C’Arcy McGee was the father of Canadian Confederacy and is the main reason many Canadians visiting Carlingford.
The tourist office has been located in the station in Carlingford since 2001.
At the time when the Foot and Mouth crisis devastated the area, the local tourism operators lobbied to the government for support and the first official tourist office was located in the building.
After the crisis was officially over , Fáilte Ireland removed its presence and basically left it to the community to carry on. Thankfully Omeath District Development secured a then FAS Social Economy scheme and the office continued to operate at its premises and has managed, very successfully to keep its doors open and continue its sustainability ever since, alongside the valuable support from the tourism community.
Beginning with 11,000 visitors per annum in 2001 the office now services over 70,000 through its doors every year. The office is recognised as a central part of the social and economic fabric of the county, which has encouraged and assisted the growth of many businesses in the area,
Earlier this year the building was awarded a grant from Louth Leader to refurbish the building where the office is based. The Heritage Trust, one of the most respected organisations in Carlingford who has also made a huge difference to the development of the town as a destination, is directly providing the match funding for the project.
‘‘The Trust’s emphasis has always been on community and this is evident within the plans for the building.’ said Frances. ‘Omeath District Development Company, administrators of the Tourist Office, are delighted with the developments and are looking forward to working with The Heritage Trust committee in their endeavours to provide a unified community facility that aims to improve and develop the area.’
The Tourist Information Office is relocated to Carlingford Heritage Centre during the refurbishment period January to June 2014. Services remain uninterrupted. Opening hours opening hours Sunday – Monday 9.30m – 4.30pm. Tel 00 353 (0) 42 937 3033