A master plan for the area of Cashel around St Patrick’s Rock will became part of the ‘Destination Cashel’ plan to promote the tourism potential of the whole town.
Currently being drawn up as part of a more detailed town development plan, South Tipperary County Council have consulted with landowners and stake holders in the area to set out plans for the future of the historic part of the town.
Under the Cashel town plan there will be a number of master plans, of which the plan for the Rock is one, Town Manager Sean Keating explained to The Nationalist. Most of those plans will be prepared by developers in different areas, but because of the important historic nature of the vicinity of the Rock of Cashel it was felt this plan should be drawn up by the County Council.
The process was launched late last year and consultation with local landowners took place before Christmas. They provided some feedback to the council staff who are working on the plan.
The master plan ties in to plans to have St Patrick’s Rock named as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The site is now on Ireland’s tentative list for consideration, but this is a process that will take years, Mr Keating said.
The master plan will not mean work is carried out in the area but, as the main development plan, will advise on standards and requirements for any development that might occur in the area, just in more detail.
The plan covers the types of development that would be more acceptable than others in that historic quarter, what is not acceptable, and what restrictions would be placed on developments that might go ahead. It also sets out the areas that must remain as ‘amenity’ areas.
The master plan is much smaller than a full development plan and is an important step in keeping a focus on The Rock. It is expected to be published in February, and will include more graphic details than the development plan - photographs of work carried out on the town walls, for example, and it will also set out the achievements already reached.
The publication will be a promotional tool for the area and will be available to view on the County Council web site and also in printed form to anyone interested.
It is hoped that the master plan will help to attract more funding for works that can be carried out, including under the town walls project.
Mr Keating went on to explain that a working group is to be set up to get the UNESCO campaign ‘off the ground.’ When up and running it will include representatives of the local community as well as representatives of the OPW, Cashel Town Council, South Tipperary County Council, South Tipperary Tourism Company, and the Heritage Department.
St Patrick’s Rock has been put forward by Ireland as part of a ‘Royal Sites’ group and that group is dependent on the OPW and the Heritage Department. Part of that process will include a full conservation plan for the buildings on the Rock, to be drawn up by the OPW.
The process is “long and complicated,” and there will be many stages before UNESCO vote on whether St Patrick’s Rock will become a World Heritage Site.