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Buncrana waste ground to be transformed 23.10.13

A PIECE of waste ground in Buncrana is to be transformed into the 'Amazing Grace Reflection Park'.
The park, beside the Tourist Office at Railway Road, is the second phase in the development of an 'Amazing Grace Experience' for the area and comes after the official opening of a viewing platform at the Shore Front.
The initiative organisers explained that Buncrana’s historic connection with the story of the famous hymn 'Amazing Grace' dates back to 1748 when slave trader John Newton found refuge in Lough Swilly after a facing death in a violent Atlantic storm.
"This was the critical turning point in the life of the self-proclaimed “wretch”, which he later described in his most famous hymn as “the hour I first believed," said a spokesperson.
"The facts and the significance of John Newton’s arrival in Lough Swilly have been confirmed and endorsed by the world’s leading expert on the life of John Newton, by the UK-based John Newton Project (responsible for researching, archiving and preserving the history of John Newton) and by local historians in the West Inishowen History and Heritage society."
Chairman of Inishowen Development Partnership, Anthony Doogan; Buncrana Mayor Cllr Peter McLaughlin; IDP manager Andrew Ward and Amazing Grace Initiative chairman Nicholas Crossan pictured at the sod turning for the Amazing Grace Reflection Park at Railway Road, Buncrana.
The under-construction park and the viewing point have received assistance from Inishowen Development Partnership (Leader) and the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government for their support under the National Rural Development Programme 2007-2013. It is hoped the new park will be completed within six months.
The organisers say funding has been made possible for the 'Amazing Grace Initiative' because of "the significant potential of this global story to attract visitors to the region". "Research demonstrates the strength of the 'brand' by a comparison with other iconic Irish sites: in a single month, there are 60,000 Google searches each for the Cliffs of Moher and for the Blarney stone but there are 835,000 searches for 'Amazing Grace'," the organisers added.
Buncrana Mayor Cllr Peter McLaughlin said: “Inishowen Development Partnership plays a vital role in accessing grant funding for community projects across the peninsula which would not otherwise be possible.”
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