Ancient skills in County Fermanagh
By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 3 November, 2015
Tourism in County Fermanagh is in for a major boost as the Heritage Lottery Fund have announced a £3million grant which will be used to train local people in centuries old ancient skills such as thatching, boat-building and storytelling. Eleanor McGillie from Live It Experience It reports.
The grant will be used to train up to 400 local people in these ancient skills and new paths, bird hides and campsites will also be funded to provide better access to Lough Erne.
Furthermore, the grant will also be used for festivals, events and exploration days and also preserve more than 100 scheduled monuments spanning over a 900 year period.
Paul Mullan, from the Heritage Lottery Fund Northern Ireland, said: “We believe it will make a huge contribution to preserving a unique place which is full of history, helping local people reconnect to the beauty on their doorsteps and encourage more visitors.
“It will also grow the local economy in a rural area by reintroducing traditional crafts, ancient skills and increasing tourism.”
The grant, which will go to the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership, which is led by the RSPB, will also be used to conserve at-risk heritage buildings, preserve and improve wildlife species and their habitats and better manage a 500 square km area of the county’s lakelands.
Two hundred local volunteers are expected to work on the project – a project which will create jobs and leave a lasting legacy for County Fermanagh. It will enable the land to be managed more effectively, invasive species will be tackled and ancient woodland and hedgerows will be restored and maintained.
Joanne Sherwood, from RSPB NI, said: “All the partners involved in this project are delighted we have been successful in obtaining this funding to help preserve, protect and enhance one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful places.
“This funding to reintroduce the ancient skills will help create jobs and leave a lasting legacy for the people of Fermanagh.”
This area, which will benefit from the HLF grant, is also an important breeding ground for wading birds such as curlew, snipe and lapwing whose populations have decreased by 83 per cent in 30 years.
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