An exciting and interactive new exhibition on the Story of Kells was opened on May 30th by Brendan Griffin, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with a ceremonial cutting of the ribbon. The new permanent tourism exhibition, developed with a Fáilte Ireland investment of €125,000 and matchfunded by Meath County Council, has created a state of the art tourism exhibition. Meath County Council has invested in restoring the Kells Courthouse building to the highest standard and yesterday marked the official re-opening as a new visitor centre, now home to a brand new space that houses a visitor exhibition alongside a new tourist office, welcoming visitors from all over the world.
The Boyne Valley Interactive Wall is the key feature of the exhibition showcasing in video and imagery, the beauty of the heritage and history of the Boyne Valley through the themes of Ireland’s Ancient East. The new exhibition features panels on ‘Kells-Our Story’ relaying the history of Kells from monastic times. The panels tell the story of how Kells was shaped by the monks who created Ireland’s most precious manuscript, the Book of Kells. On display, there is a facsimile Book of Kells and interactive screen where you can examine the illustrations in more detail, with kind support from Trinity College. Lots more interesting stories can be explored through the displays and the most popular area of the exhibition is the children’s area where there is a puzzle from the movie ‘The Secret of Kells’, kindly contributed by award winning Irish animation studio, Cartoon Saloon.
The exhibition is a result of much planning by Meath County Council staff and their design team, and was designed around inspiring tourists and local people alike to explore the town of Kells and to increase dwell time by encouraging visitors to discover its wonderful history, culture, arts and heritage. This is just the start of the work at the Kells Courthouse, and a new culture hub will be opened by Meath County Council later this year. Boyne Valley Tourism staff are on hand 7 days a week until end of August and 6 days thereafter to offer tourist information as well as guiding visitors through the Kells town model also on view.
Opening Kells Courthouse today, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D., said:
“Kells, one of the most historic parts of the whole country, is a real gem in the Boyne Valley and Ireland’s Ancient East. I’m delighted to see how Fáilte Ireland’s capital investment has really helped to transform the visitor experience at the Kells Courthouse and make treasures like The Kells Crozier available for the public to enjoy. The new Kells Courthouse Tourism and Cultural Hub will serve as a base for further exploration of County Meath, encouraging visitors to stay longer, and bringing more business and revenue to local communities.”
Ms. Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive, Meath County Council, speaking at the official opening of Kells Courthouse - Tourism and Cultural Hub, said, “We are privileged in Meath to have the wonderful historic town of Kells to showcase to visitors to the Boyne Valley. We are also fortunate with our location offering superb connectivity to Europe and the rest of the world through Dublin Airport and Port as well as an excellent motorway network. As tourist numbers grow, the Kells Courthouse will provide a focal point providing tourists with a friendly welcome and helpful information on what to see and do in the Boyne Valley, Birthplace of Ireland’s Ancient East”.
Ms Maguire continued, “I sincerely thank everyone involved in making this project such a success. In particular, I would like to thank Fáilte Ireland for their investment in the new exhibition. I would like to thank the local community for their input into the project and to our own staff in Meath County Council who worked tirelessly to bring this fabulous facility to fruition”.
Orla Carroll, Fáilte Ireland’s Director of Product Development, joined Minister of State Griffin at the opening. Talking about the importance of investment in attractions like Kells Courthouse – Tourism and Cultural Hub. Orla Carroll said:
“Through Fáilte Ireland’s investment programme, we are constantly looking for new opportunities to stimulate the development of compelling visitor experiences throughout the country. Kells Courthouse – Tourism and Cultural Hub will be a key attraction in Ireland’s Ancient East. The region stands out for its rich built heritage and amazing history, and the Ireland’s Ancient East brand is all about bringing this to life through storytelling and compelling visitor experiences. Nowhere is that clearer than here at the new Kells Courthouse. These modern exhibits bring the stories and history of the Boyne Valley to life and provide visitors and locals with a new and exciting way to enjoy history and heritage.”
Other speakers on the evening included The Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council, Cllr Tom Kelly and Kevin Stewart, Director of Services, Meath County Council.
The official opening of Kells Courthouse - Tourism and Cultural Hub was attended by many local people from Kells and North Meath as well as representatives from Failte Ireland, elected representatives, Meath County Council and members of Boyne Valley Tourism.