The official opening of the Nenagh Tourist Office took place on Thursday 19th May. The office was opened by Cathaoirleach of Nenagh Municipal District Michael O’Meara and award-winning writer Donal Ryan.
The new tourist office was blessed by Father Des Hillery, who took the opportunity to greet the Reverend Rod Smyth, who is retiring from the Nenagh district.
Located in the historic and cultural area of Nenagh, Mr O’Meara said the office would promote Nenagh as part of Hidden Heartlands and the Lough Derg area.
However, he also says it’s more than that. He paid tribute to the collaboration between Tipperary County Council and the artists, shopkeepers and residents of Nenagh who donated pieces for the exhibitions.
“I know that the tourist office will enrich the territory’s offer for both visitors and tourists. But it does more than that; it is a celebration of Nenagh, its heritage, its culture and ladies and gentlemen, its people,” Mr O’Meara said.
He also welcomed the new tour guide, Victoria Lee. Also among the evening’s speakers were designer Anne Scroope, Tipperary County Council chief executive Joe MacGrath.
Mr MacGrath said the new tourist office is a fresh start and an opportunity to tell the story of Nenagh.
“Fundamentally what sets Nenagh apart or any other estate is the story it tells. It’s your story, and no one else can tell that story. For me, we have to be captivated by this and understand that this is the story of generations of this city and this region,” said McGrath.
Donal Ryan brought his words to the office both in an exhibition and at the opening ceremony.
A passage from his work is printed on the door, and he is the inspiration behind the I heart Nenagh sign.
His books are also on display in the office library.
In the evening, he talked about Nenagh, the home and the vocation of the tourist office.
“My heart is here not just because it’s my home, but because it’s such a beautiful place. But Nenagh doesn’t always recognize its beauty, its own specialness, its own importance, and that’s why this place is so important.
“It will serve as a reminder, tribute and sanctuary to all that is great about Nenagh and its sparkling hinterland,” Mr Ryan said.
The final speaker was Ann Scroope of Scroope Design. She talked about the design consultation process, the takeaways of which were love for Nenagh.
“It’s not a museum, but I think we can agree that it’s more than a tourist office. It is information and imagination. It’s a visual, witty, nuanced, colorful and memorable conversation.
“That’s exactly what you would experience in Nenagh,” Ms Scroope said.
Nenagh District Administrator Rosemary Joyce said the ceremony was a celebration of achievement.
Ms. Joyce thanked everyone who contributed and created pieces to bring the tourist office to life.
This included those who donated parts and worked on the building and artists including Paul Finch, Josephine Geaney, Lynn Kirkham, Geradine Wisdom and Reggie Goodbody.
The tourist office has been open since December 2021.
Its official opening ceremony was postponed to last week due to the covid-19 pandemic.
Full image caption: Victoria Lee, Tourist Information Officer; Lynn Kirkham, artist (hare, tower and dragonfly); Rosemary Joyce, district administrator; Paul Finch, artist (Hurling Chair, Lough Derg Monster & Molecular Structure of Water); Gerardine Wisdom, artist (Cocoons & Lampshades). Photo by Bridget Delaney