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Over 600 visit Brontė Church in two years

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

THE Brontė Visitor Centre outside Rathfriland needs investment.

The Brontė site, at Church Hill outside Rathfriland, has been in council possession for over four decades and has been used as a museum/visitor centre dedicated to the famous literary sisters and their father who was born and brought up in the area.

And this link could be explored further as it is being considered for the museum scoping study for the borough.

Another idea put forward to councillors who sit on the Economic Development and Regeneration committee is that the site could be used as part of a Literary Tourism initiative, alongside sites associated with Jonathan Swift, John Hewitt, AE Russell, John O'Connor and other literary figures.

However, there are some repairs necessary as there are damp problems with the school house beside Drumballyroney Church .

The site was acquired by the former Banbridge District Council in 1976 through an agreement with the Church of Ireland General Synod which allowed the council lease of the church building for 999 years for use as a museum/visitor centre .

The council developed the site and re refurbished both buildings to become the Brontė Interpretative Centre in 1993.

This centre had been open for seven months of the year, from March to September, but is now staffed through the Tourist Information Centre and the opening reduced to Friday to Sunday only 12pm to 4.30pm and only from Easter to August .

However, councillors were informed that this year, the site will be available for pre-booked group tours and it will be opened on European Heritage weekend on 9 and 10 September.

In the past two seasons, the footfall for the Brontė Interpretative Centre has been 676.

There are "repairs required to the ground and to the school house in relation to damp issues".

The church is available to hire for weddings and other private functions including use by the Brontė Music Club. It was added that the agreement on this association ended at the end of last year and is under review as part of the arts and culture strategy for the borough.

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