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1 December 2003
Visitors Centre at Navan Fort to reopen

A major tourist centre for visitors to the historic Navan Fort in Co Armagh (Ireland), which was a seat of the historic kings of Ulster and was used in the Neolithic period, will reopen by the summer.
     The 4m Navan Interpretive Centre was opened in July 1993 and backed by European cash, but it has been closed since May 2001. Its owners, a board of trustees appointed by the British and Irish Governments, were unable to pay its running costs after the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure withdrew funding. Navan was once the site of a timber circle; now, only a grassy hill and the outlines of a moat are visible to the casual viewer and this reinforces the need for an interpretive centre.
     Armagh City and District Council member Jim Speers headed a committee which examined ways of reopening the centre, which accumulated a six figure debt after DCAL's decision to end its subsidy. "I am delighted that the centre will now be reopened. It has been a very strong bone of contention in the area since it was closed," he said. "A management committee including a number of archaeological experts, will now be set up to run the interpretive centre and I would hope it will be open by the start of the summer tourist season."
     Controversy has surrounded efforts to reopen the centre, with DCAL criticised for ending its funding for the running of the centre, which was popular with tourists and schools.

Source: The Belfast Telegraph (27 November 2003)

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