Work is ongoing as part of a masterplan which aims to develop a national Nature Reserve for Moorehall, Lough Carra and the surrounding environment.
The masterplan is being devised as part of a collaboration between Mayo County Council, the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Coillte and SLR Consulting which will see the historical site, located near Carnacon, developed into a nature conservation with a “sensibly designed” visitor experience.
The masterplan will be guided by principles to maintain and restore the favourable conservation status of the internationally protected Lesser Horseshoe Bat. The development of recreational infrastructure will be aligned with conservation objectives.
The masterplan is made up of five key strategic actions: conservation management, authenticity and restoration of key features of the historic environment, development of the visitor experience, improving linkages, interpretation and signage and infrastructure planning and planning case for the future.
The restoration of key features of the historic environment would see design proposals drawn up for restoration of features such as the house at Moorehall, the walled garden, the farmyard and avenue.
The development of the visitor experience would see the creation of a new visitor centre containing exhibitions, visitor services and cultural and literacy space.
Councillors in the Castlebar Municipal District took note of the masterplan at Wednesday’s area meeting.
Cllr Al McDonnell said the masterplan marked another exciting day for the development of Moorehall.
“At one stage, this was a pipe dream but it is a fantasy no more. Now it is an achievable objective,” said Cllr McDonnell.
The next stages in this project will see a Public Consultation process take place, followed by the development of a Conservation Management Plan, the proposal of an Operating Model, the drawing up of a shortlist of Phase 1 projects, before a planning application is put forward for Phase 1.