The spectacular Sliabh Liag.
Sliabh Liag is becoming the “jewel in the crown” in Donegal tourism after it attracted 175,000 visitors last year.
Donegal County Council (DCC) Chief Executive Seamus Neely has revealed that in a year when the council's annual debt/deficit had been reduced from €9,717,139 to €8,53,104, Sliabh Liag was now in the top ten visitor locations in the country.
Donegal County Council has invested strongly in developing facilities at the world famous cliffs.
And at Monday's meeting of the council in Lifford, Mr. Neely said Sliabh Liag is one of the most successful projects that the council has been involved in, although it has not been without its challenges.
“The funding came from Failte Ireland, Interreg and from the council’s own resources,” Mr. Neely said.
“Ten years ago the number of visitors that went to Sliabh Liag could be brought out in two or three mini buses a week.
“The view from the recorded counters at the moment is that we are attracting visitor numbers of the order of 175,000.
“It is one of the top ten visitor attractions in Ireland and is promoted by ourselves and thankfully Failte Ireland.
“And I take the view that we are only at the end of the beginning of Sliabh Liag.
“There has been extensive engagement with the community right up to the current day and I would expect that by September we would be able to provide the sort of summary demonstrating the outcomes and setting the scenarios where a community company will be operational in a manner that is satisfactory to the council, but also more importantly, that is satisfactory to the local community.”
Mr. Neely added: “It is a national project and we are now getting the visitors but we need to collectively find a way with the community to increase the numbers but also to make services available to them where they would be happy to spend more time and money in the area.
“And perhaps even rather than just visiting Sliabh Liag, that they would use it as a base to spread around the rest of the south.”
Mr. Neely said the investment made in the facility by Donegal County Council has been value for money.
“It is in a much better place and we have an ongoing discussion with Failte Ireland and I believe that they are interested in coming back to see how further investment can be channelled,” he said.