Irish American millionaire James Delaney performs the sod-turning ceremony for the Boyne Park of National Heritage.
The Boyne Park of National Heritage lies on a 30 acre site straddling both sides of the River Boyne. Irish-American millionaire James Delaney from Texas purchased the site on 12 July 1983 for £48,000. At a cost of £3 million he intends to transform it into a into a folk park dedicated to peace and reconciliation, similar to the Alamo Cmplex in San Antonio, Texas.
The Alamo site is called the cradle of Texas liberty; the Boyne site is called the cradle of Irish civilisation so there is a definite similarity there.
James Delaney doubts the park will be profitable, but hopes it will be self sustaining and develop businesses in the surrounding area.
The proposed park will include full scale recreations of key features in Irish history, stretching back to pre-Christian times and their construction will employ up to 100 people. The park is expected to open in 1987 and will have a full-time staff of 40. The site will include a children's village and hostel.
The architect and planner Uinseann MacEoin has been working on the project for a year and says the life size reconstruction of a Land League village is very popular with Americans.
They would like to see, recaptured again Michael Davitt's time and the little mud clad, thatch clad botháns from which some of their ancestors left.
The trustees of the park include Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich and Nobel Peace Prize winner Seán MacBride, both present at the sod-turning ceremony. The Dublin City Ballet danced to traditional music at the ceremony and the Woodburn Pipe Band from Carrickfergus in County Antrim also performed.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 July 1985. The reporter is Mary Butler.