Minister Alan Kelly, Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government announced significant funding for the Fethard Tholsel project on Thursday, September 4.
Minister Kelly announced an allocation of €245,000 under the Rural Development Programme managed locally by South Tipperary Development Company.
This funding is additional to €105,000 from Tipperary County Council as part of the Community Grants scheme (2012).
Local fundraising has resulted in the required matching funding being raised.
The Fethard Tholsel project is the primary initiative of the Fethard Business and Tourism Group Limited which was established in May 2011 as a sub-committee of Fethard and Killusty Community Council. The main objective of the company is to promote business and tourism in Fethard and its environs; the promotion of local festivals and events; provision of tourism information and the restoration of the building known as the Tholsel as a historical and cultural focal point on main street. This will be a tourism hub for the many visitors to the town and region, leveraging on its rich medieval heritage and equine tradition of Fethard.
The Tholsel (Town Hall), is a 17th century building. Owned by Tipperary County Council, it has recently been leased to Fethard Business and Tourism Group Ltd on a 20-year lease to be restored and used as multi-functional centre for the development of tourism in Fethard and also as a location for the presentation and interpretation of the many facets of Fethard and its history.
Fethard is a significant Walled Town and it has many building structures of historical significance e.g. the Augustinian Abbey (1305); Edmond’s Castle (15th century), Court Castle (1450).
The Tholsel is of prime importance from a historical, architectural, archaeological, social and community perspective.
Dating back to the early 17th century, it has served as an alms house, the location for Fethard Corporation, courthouse, weighbridge, fire station, library and in more recent times the lobby has been used for the weekly country markets.
Works are expected to begin in early October and due for opening for the tourist season in 2015.