Sligo Gaol - The Future...
CHL Consulting to undertake feasibility study into future of Sligo Gaol
The development of Sligo gaol as a key asset to the town and region took a major step forward in December 2018
A contract has been signed with a leading Dublin consultancy firm to map the route leading to the realisation of the gaol’s full potential.
The Friends of Sligo Gaol voluntary group, together with the building’s owners Sligo County Council, have appointed CHL Consulting to explore the best options for the gaol and to compile a report on their findings.
CHL Consulting’s executives who will be working on the feasibility study have extensive experience in working with major projects in Ireland and internationally.
Established in 1984, they have completed projects in more than 60 countries worldwide. In Ireland they have been associated with the Titanic centre in Belfast and Failte Ireland.
The company have also helped guide the success of several heritage sites including Spike Island, Camden Fort Meagher, Elizabeth Fort in Cork.
They have worked with leading tourism interests including the Guinness Storehouse, Fáilte Ireland, Irish Hotels Federation, Bord Bia and Irish Tourism Industry Confederation among others.
One of the aims of the Friends of Sligo Gaol group is to work towards the eventual opening of the historic building to the public.
They are also endeavouring to provide community support for the conservation of the 200-year-old structure and to promote greater understanding and public awareness of its history and heritage.
Commenting on this week’s development Sligo County Council CEO Ciaran Hayes said: “I could envisage the gaol becoming a flagship project for Sligo and the region. The council looks forward to working with the consultants and the Friends of Sligo Gaol in their efforts to determine the way forward”.
Friends of Sligo Gaol chairperson Tamlyn McHugh said: “We regard the appointment of the consultants as the most significant step yet towards the realisation of our aims. We are delighted to have secured the services of specialists with the expertise of CHL Consulting”.
Photograph courtesy National Library of Ireland
The CHL Consulting feasibility study will identify and assess options for the development of Sligo Gaol as a publicly accessible amenity, an asset for the community and a key tourism attraction for Sligo.
In doing so they will examine existing plans and policies as outlined in the Sligo Gaol Conservation Plan, the Sligo East City/Cranmore area Regeneration plan and Sligo Heritage policy.
In the course of their study they will assess the financial viability of various potential options measuring operational costs against sources of ongoing income.
Michael Counahan, Managing Director of CHL, said: “ We at CHL are delighted to have been appointed by the Friends of Sligo Gaol to conduct this feasibility study. Sligo Gaol is a very important heritage site with many unique features. It has genuine potential to become a really exciting visitor experience and thereby make a significant contribution to the future growth of tourism in Sligo. We look forward to working closely with The Friends of Sligo Gaol, Sligo County Council and other stakeholders in advancing this project over the coming months.”
Friends of Sligo Gaol are funding this study with a grant from the LEADER Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 with additional match funding from the group’s own funds
Panel discussion on the future of Sligo Gaol
On the weekend of 7-9th September 2018, Friends of Sligo Gaol marked the 200th anniversary of the opening of Ireland's only surviving polygonal prison, rich in history and heritage with a Conference Weekend in Sligo.
A key element of the conference was a panel discussion exploring "The Future of Sligo Gaol".
• Dr Gillian O’Brien (Expert in ‘Dark Tourism),
• Eva Costello (Wild Atlantic Way Team Manager at Fáilte Ireland),
• Siobhan Ryan (Heritage Officer with Sligo County Council),
• Patrick McHugh (Events Manager and head tour guide at Lifford Old Courthouse),
• Tim Carey (Historian and former manager of Kilmainham Gaol)
• Ciarán McHugh (Feasibility Study Project Manger with Friends of Sligo Gaol).