As many OPW heritage sites around the country reopen for a new season, Limerick TD and Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., took the opportunity ahead of the reopening of Desmond Castle Newcastle West on Thursday, 7 April, to highlight a number of works planned there by the OPW this year. These include the appointment by the OPW of consultants to progress the longer-term project of roofing the Halla Mór as well as the installation of new signage and flagpoles at the site.
Minister O’Donovan said: “I am delighted to announce that the OPW is planning a series of enhancement works to further add to the appeal of this tourism attraction in the heart of Newcastle West. Visitors can not only enjoy free entrance for guided tours of the medieval castle with one of the most impressive surviving banqueting halls in Ireland, but can also look forward to resting afterwards in the courtyard on additional seating that will be installed in the course of the 2022 season.”
For the first time since it opened to the public in 1998, Desmond Castle saw a record number of 19,408 visitors last year, despite the pandemic and its restrictions on travel and the reopening of heritage sites that lasted late into spring. Compared to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, this was an increase of 53 per cent. Looking forward to the new 2022 season, Minister O’Donovan said:
“With the opening of the Limerick Greenway last year, Desmond Castle Newcastle West has been put on the map of many new visitors, whether they are local tourists or from further away, taking to their bikes to actively explore the beauty of West Limerick. Over 220,000 people used the Greenway in the first five months after it opened last July and I have no doubt it will enjoy enduring popularity and enhance the tourism appeal of the entire area, linking many exciting discovery points along the route from Rathkeale to Newcastle West and all the way to the Kerry border.”
Desmond Castle Newcastle West is also available for free school tours and can be booked for wedding photographs free of charge by contacting the site on 069-77408.
Visit https://heritageireland.ie/ to discover, explore and plan your next trip to this as well as to many other of Ireland’s top heritage sites in the care of the OPW.