The Government has announced funding of €62 million for 26 projects across the country designed to boost rural towns and villages.

The round of funding is made under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, which is part of Project 2040.

Details were outlined by Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring in Co Wexford.

He described the fund as "a game changer for rural Ireland".

One of the beneficiaries is the Dunbrody Famine Ship and Irish Emigrant Experience as part of 'Wexfordia'.

The large scale regeneration and tourism project is designed to enhance the town's visitor potential.

Other projects to be allocated funding include the Virginia Civic Centre in Co Cavan, Mount Congreve Gardens in Co Waterford; a 46km stretch of the Barrow Blueway between Athy in Co Kildare and Vicarstown in Co Laois; the Killybegs town regeneration project in Co Donegal, and town centre improvements in Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim.

Mr Ring has said that the fund will have delivered €148m for 110 projects when the current round is spent.

"I believe that it is vital that we continue to build resilience in rural communities and make our towns and villages vibrant places for families to live," he said.

The €62m from the Government is supplemented by another €33m from State-funded bodies, rural communities themselves and philanthropic sources.

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