The Minister for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Limerick County Fine Gael TD, Patrick O’Donovan has announced that a total of 48 OPW parks and heritage sites with outdoor spaces will be open to the public within the existing travel restrictions either from today, 26 April, or later this week. Just like the over 20 OPW gardens and parklands that had remained open and accessible to locals throughout lockdown this year, the additional sites opening their grounds will continue to provide important amenities for citizens’ health and wellbeing.
Sites that are reopening from today include the outdoor spaces of Kells Priory, Trim Castle and Nenagh Castle. Later in the week, the grounds of Desmond Castle Newcastle West (29 April), the gardens at Doneraile Court (29 April) and Garnish Island (30 April) will reopen.
Minister Patrick O’Donovan TD, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, said: “I am delighted that the steady progress we have made over the past months has allowed the easing of restrictions on outdoor visitor attractions from today. As a result, many additional outdoor OPW heritage sites and parks will be open for people to explore and enjoy locally. They provide much-needed recreational amenities.”
Minister O’Donovan added: “I would like to ask members of the public to be mindful of existing Covid-19 guidelines during visits and to help us maintain the beauty of our parks and scenic locations by heeding the message of our “Love This Place, Leave No Trace” campaign. While the OPW’s staff are working hard to maintain the parks, gardens and heritage grounds in our care to a high standard so that they can be enjoyed by all visitors, we need your cooperation to keep these places litter-free.”
The OPW has been part of the joint initiative Love This Place, Leave No Trace since its launch by the Government of Ireland in partnership with Leave No Trace Ireland last summer. The campaign aims to promote responsible outdoor recreation practices that will ensure a healthier and sustainable future for all and calls on everyone to take care of the outdoors. There has been a notable increase in littering throughout the country over the past weekend, and areas affected include OPW heritage sites.
Where it has been safe to do so, toilet facilities have also reopened at OPW heritage sites, but their availability is dependent on local arrangements at each site and subject to ongoing review.
The list of OPW heritage sites which are already open or will reopen from 26 April can be found below as well as online at https://www.heritageireland.ie/assets/uploads/2021/04/heritage_services_site_status_2021_04_26.pdf. The online list will be updated as more sites reopen over the coming weeks.