Tourism in Co. Armagh has been potentially boosted by the opening of the newly restored farm buildings which complement the recently restored Dan Winters Cottage, near Loughgall.
Known for its significance in the formation of the Orange Order, the 300 year old buildings are under the ownership of Dan Winters Ltd, formerly Diamond Community Development Association, which has focused several years of community work into the conservation and restoration of the pre-1835 listed farm buildings and cottage.
The project has been financed by the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council (through the European Union Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme) which has contributed £132,000; the International Fund for Ireland has provided £64,000 and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency; Historic Buildings Unit have awarded £10,000 to the project. Funding has allowed for the provision of a tea room and visual display areas which showpiece the history and culture of the area and traditional farming practices throughout the years.
Speaking at the launch Chair of the group Hilda Winter, Chairperson, commented, “The 300 year old thatched dwelling house was restored several years ago and received formal recognition by the Historical Buildings Council and EHS Conservation Awards. However, the site was not ‘visitor friendly’. We want to thank the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council and the International Fund for Ireland for their financial assistance in helping us to achieve our aim of offering an enhanced visitor experience”. Also speaking at the event Martin McDonald, Chief Executive, said, “Dan Winters House is recognised as a very important heritage tourism asset for the local area. It attracts visitors from all around the world with a unique brand of culture and heritage tourism. RDC is very happy to have been able to support this group in further enhancing a distinctive tourism product”.
Anne Henderson, Board member of the International Fund for Ireland, which contributed £64,000 to the restoration said ‘this project has been made possible due to the hard work and perseverance of the Dan Winter’s Limited Company, and I would like to offer them my congratulations in bringing this project to fruition’. She further said, ‘Your imagination and your determination have helped to create superb facilities. Dan Winter’s House is recognised as a heritage tourism asset and attracts many local and world wide visitors. The restored project will enhance the visitor experience and add to the attraction of the site. I would also like to thank our donors the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for their continued support without which we could not fund such vital projects’.
On behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency; Historic Buildings Unit Helen Hossack, Senior Conservation Architect commented, “NIEA: HBU warmly congratulates all those involved in the restoration of this important building and is delighted to have been able to make grant aid available”
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