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2015: A new uniqueness for Killala

Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2016

The tourist potential of Killala’s past.

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Another way that the locality’s uniqueness is being recreated and harnessed to provide jobs and enhance the cultural and social vibrancy of the area is through a return to earlier layers of Killala’s history. There is a 9th century souterrain, the 12th century round tower is one of the best examples in County Mayo, the Anglican Cathedral was erected in 1670 and the area is rich in archaeological remains. On 22 August 1798 the French General, Humbert, landed at Killala, as described in The Dublin Penny Journal, 1 June 1833. Two sculptures of General Humbert by Carmel Gallagher stand in Killala today, one sponsored by the American Ireland Fund in 1988 and the other for the Bicentennial Humbert School Commemoration of 1989.

In this audio clip Justin Sammon discusses the tourism potential of Killala’s uniqueness, the need to develop the tourist infrastructure in order to benefit from the marketing of the Wild Atlantic Way and the overall importance of taking a unique approach to local development.

Philip O'Sullivan and Justin Sammon in Killala Creative commons image Icon Jenny Meegan for Justin Salmon photo under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license Philip O'Sullivan chats to Justin Sammon

Transcript: Killala’s uniqueness - tourism potential

PHILIP O’SULLIVAN Your job now and something you mentioned which I think your interest or your role is in terms of community action and trying to get these local rural areas in some sense regenerated?

JUSTIN SAMMON Yes to re-examine their resources because there is a tendency for copy-cat development and just that one community does what the next one does rather than look at their own uniqueness. And I think that is why I was interested in your article. The uniqueness of place is actually central to development and I have seen a lot of the geographers especially, there is a guy called Patrick Duffy, I think in Maynooth, he may still be, he wrote a book on Landscape and Sense of Place there. And it was quite interesting when I looked at landscape at several layers like material…. physical landscapes and all that sort of way at looking at place, because all they have left is to develop something, uniqueness of their own landscape and culture that can develop into something else and no-one is putting that skill base in place, I don’t think there is… So we are looking at, we are trying out in Northeast Mayo a few methodologies to see can we stimulate… For instance in Ennis, that is the big Gaeltacht North Mayo area, very wild, it recently won the title ‘The Best place to Go Wild in Ireland’ by the Irish Times. What it lacks, it is a barren landscape but what it lacks in agricultural viability, it is an extraordinary culture. It would have the largest core of Bronze Age folklore in Europe and we are looking at some of those famous myths and I am now linking up with the groups in Northern Ireland to see can we get reconciliation programmes going using myth across the border…

PHILIP O’SULLIVAN So what, Killala does seem to be a unique place in that, remote, Northeast Mayo and yet links with the French Revolution, links now with Fibre Optic internet connections from America, from the cable, but you are saying, do I take it then the kind of thing you are saying, as each place maybe looks at its unique history, culture, legacy, so from those seeds if you like, or from those elements you maybe try and create a new future rather than sort of imposing from outside. If you like just like a model of just you know lets us relocate an inward investment plant there.

JUSTIN SAMMON It is a great marketing ploy when people are driving up, OK, it is lovely to be on the Wild Atlantic Way but there are no services to facilitate that …..  I think what Killala has to do is to try and see can we develop their products and make them look at the place in a different way and see what they can sell uniquely to avail of the global marketing that is done.



 Now move on to Killala: uniqueness and interdependence, local enterprise and self-help.


See all the articles in this series

See all the series in the Change in the West of Ireland collection

This article is part of a collection on the 'Uniqueness, Interdependence, Uneven Development and Change in the West of Ireland'. To find out more about the collection, a good place to start is the introduction, Change in the West of Ireland. 





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