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27 August 2013
Lough Gur Heritage Centre redeveloped

Lough Gur (County Limerick) is one of Ireland's most important archaeological sites. Humans have lived near Lough Gur since about 3000 BCE and there are numerous megalithic remains there, including the largest stone circle in Ireland, a dolmen, the remains of at least three crannogs and Stone Age houses and a number of ring forts.
     Now a new chapter in the history of Lough Gur has been opened following the unveiling of the revamped heritage centre which has undergone improvements works to the tune of € 535,000. The list of works carried out included the extensive redesign and creation of a new exhibition detailing 5000 years of habitation at Lough Gur.
     The heritage centre was originally opened by Shannon Heritage in 1981 and was  managed as a tourism facility by the umbrella body for 30 years. In 2011 Lough Gur Development Co-operative Society, a non-profit organisation comprised of local residents took over the centre to improve and promote the Lough Gur area. Local residents of Lough Gur, with great pride in their newly acquired venture began intensive fundraising to carry out the necessary refurbishment works.
     To assist members of the public on their visit there are several touch screen displays, audio guides and listening points. For the budding archaeologist there is an interactive dig and a dressing up corner for those who wish to dress in old-style garments. Self-guided tours have been designed to allow the independent traveller to saunter at an easy pace around the lake. Maps and trail information are freely available in the heritage centre reception area. There is also an option to book local guides trained by Michael Quinlan who had dedicated a lifetime to studying, preserving and promoting the history and folklore of Lough Gur.
     The opening times for the Centre are 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 12pm to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. Rates and additional information can be found on www.loughgur.com or by phoning the heritage centre directly on 061 385186.

Edited from Limerick Leader (August 2013)

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