The National 1798 Centre is a historical tourist attraction in Enniscorthy, County Wexford. The centre, also incorporating the nearby Enniscorthy Castle, is one of the main local attractions and is responsible for drawing in large numbers of outside visitors to the town. Using state of the art technology to bring the events of the 1798 Rebellion to life, The National 1798 Centre has been in operation since 1998 and generate their traded income by giving tours to local schools and visiting tourists. The centre is actively involved in local events, such as The Rockin’ Food Festival in the summer and the very popular Santa’s Enchanted Castle, which is run during the Christmas season in November and December.

How does CSP funding contribute?

The Centre receives funding under the Community Services Programme, managed and administer by Pobal for three full time equivalents and a manager, allowing both the centre and the castle to be in a position to open 7 days a week. Without CSP funding it is likely the centre would only operate during the summer months.

The work carried out by the CSP funded staff includes tour guides and reception duties. “If the CSP programme wasn’t there, we wouldn’t be operating” said Mr. Rory O’Connor, Manager.

Key Achievements in 2017

Between the centre and the castle, almost 20,000 people visited Enniscorthy for a tour, to attend free events throughout the year or to take part in the larger events organised, such as Santa’s Enchanted Castle. These visitors spent approximately €250,000 in the town, proving a huge boost to the local economy. 70% of these visitors came from outside of County Wexford, including many foreign tourists.

Challenges

Despite having had a successful 2017, it was not without challenges. The centre’s organisational structure and business model underwent an overhaul in late 2016, which meant that new staff had to be hired and trained from early in 2017. Given that staff are required to be able to work between the centre and the castle (which are not on the same site), staff are required to be competent in a number of different tasks. While this provides a very varied working day for employees, it did increase the level of training necessary to bring staff up to the required standard to operate both businesses successfully. With the new staff now fully embedded, this should be much less of an issue in the year ahead.

Outlook for 2018

2018 will be the twentieth year The National 1798 Centre has been in operation, with plans for up to six extra events to mark their anniversary. With staff now fully embedded in their roles, there is great scope for 2018 to be even more succesful than 2017. Although Enniscorthy is in the process of being bypassed and people are waiting to see what impact that will have on the town, the optimisitic outlook is that this will lead to a more pleasant trip for visitors as traffic lessens, which will hopefully have a positive knock-on effect for the centre and the castle. With CSP funding secured until the end of 2020, the centre will be looking to build on the success of 2017.