The Butler Trail
The Butler Trail was conceived as a result of an analysis of the tourism potential of South Tipperary, and from a desire to capitalise and build on South Tipperary’s unique selling point of ‘castles and heritage’. The Butler Dynasty was identified as the thread which wove many of South Tipperary’s diverse sites into a complex cultural landscape, the effects of which remain relevant in Tipperary to the present day. Set in the romantic charming towns of Cahir and Carrick-on-Suir and the bustling town centre of Clonmel, the Butlers landmarks each have their own story to tell. The Butler legacy and architectural heritage in Carrick-on-Suir (Ormonde Castle), Clonmel (Main Guard) and Cahir (Cahir Castle & Swiss Cottage), three towns flanked by the river Suir, is particularly strong, and on that basis the integrated tourism trail was born.
South Tipperary Tourism Company approached South Tipperary Development Company (STDC) with the idea of developing the Butler Trail. At a very early stage in discussions, it became clear that bringing the concept into reality was way beyond the scope of a voluntary committee. With this in mind, STDC provided funding to appoint a project Animator to bring the project to reality. Joanne Hughes took on the role of Project Animator (Co-ordinator) for fifteen months. During that time Joanne worked with key stakeholders such as the local communities in the three towns, South Tipperary Tourism Company, the Local Authority, OPW, STDC, Failte Ireland, The Butler Family and many others to bring the project from a concept to a “live project”. Following consultations, planning and design of the trail, additional funding was provided by STDC for the signage element of the project.
The Butler Trail is an excellent example of agencies working with local voluntary committees to deliver projects that can bring economic benefits to local areas.
Phase II of the Butler Trail signage project has recently received funding under Failte Ireland’s Ireland’s Ancient East proposition.