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Search for finance for the Kinvara Nature Park - VIDEO

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Old Irish three pence piece
The original business plan for the Kinvara Nature Park written in 2007 took four months to complete. Now that the project is active again I have had to update it in the last week. It has changed from a new 'state of the art' sustainably built, eco-center to a conversion of the existing barn.

It reflects the fact that everyone's aspirations have shrunk. The good thing is that building and labor costs have drastically dropped in 4 years. The bad news is finance is as scarce as hen's teeth!

It has been early starts to try and get it done before the kids get up as they have been on midterm break. Last Tuesday I had a meeting with the Galway City and County Enterprise Board. I brought the two girls with me and they grilled the receptionist about Santa Claus as I was talking to Breda Fox the chief executive.
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I didn't expect any joy from GCCEB as I had heard they had very little funding but as they supported the original feasibility study I wanted to approach them first. Our only real chance is with Galway Rural Development, word has it that they have only used 30% of their funding and must use it by December or they lose their quota. Breda Fox is also on the board of GRD and is going to recommend the project. The meeting is at midday today and will determine the future of the project. They wont need much convincing that facilities are needed around Kinvara but it all depends on whether we tick all the right boxes.

I have also been working on a new logo. It is a line drawing of that mythical Irish animal the hare. I tried to post it but it didn't work so above is the lovely old Irish coin featuring the hare.

The concept of the nature center is to provide an experience of the Burren flora and fauna (including the famous rare wild alpine flowers and orchids) on the nature trail around the farm with information points linking to seasonal exhibits at the center. The barn will also have an artisan farm cafe with seasonal fresh food to keep the adults happy and indoor and outdoor adventure play equipment for children.

The idea is to motivate children around the nature walk with zip wires and tree houses to play in and information boards to collect information from. It would also be an ideal introduction for hikers wishing to experience the Burren and all its natural wealth and beauty. There have been a few initiatives for education in the Burren such as the Burren center in Kilfenora which has a great exhibition but it is all done through photographs and film rather than experiencing and connecting with nature and the stone. There are also plenty of guided walks in the hills which are wonderful for active people.

The nature center would really be just a taster of all the Burren has to offer and what better place to start than Kinvara, the 'gateway to the Burren'. Any suggestions as to what visitors would like would be welcome.

BBC2 has been doing a beautifully filmed documentary 'Monty Halls great escapes' He has been in Connemara, where the scenery is looking magical. See below the amazing footage of diving with conger eels in the first episode. This week he was was swimming and trying to tag basking sharks off Malin head.

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