The Government has announced that charges to many OPW heritage sites are being waived in a bid to help encourage domestic tourism and to support the tourism economy.
Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State responsible for the Office of Public Works announced admission charges to certain OPW heritage sites including Trim Castle, Battle of the Boyne and Dun Aonghasa are being waived as part of the Government’s new July Stimulus Plan.
In total, over 30 heritage sites will be free to visit until the end of the year. O’Donovan hopes it will offer “a different holiday experience” and allow families to relive their childhood memories as they appeal to Irish people to stay at home and take staycations within Ireland over the next six months.
“From my previous experience as Minister for Tourism, I am aware that the Visitor sites in the care of the OPW are highly prized by Irish people. Many of us visited places like Glendalough and the Rock of Cashel on school tours, and they are a big part of our childhood for a lot of us,” he said.
“I’m convinced that the fondness and pride Irish people harbour for our national heritage sites is a result of our collective childhood memories. That’s why I think that this initiative I am introducing today as part of the Government’s July Stimulus will appeal to people who are looking for a different holiday experience that has something for everyone.”
A small number of the busier sites will not be included in the new plans with fears they might become overwhelmed with large numbers of visitors which could create a significant risk of spreading Covid-19.
Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange and Knowth) is one of the few heritage sites not included in the list; in fact, the iconic venue has yet to reopen due to social distancing restrictions. It is believed plans are being put in place in the hopes of opening the popular attraction sometime next month.
Sites that will have free admission over the next six months are:
- Battle of the Boyne
- Blasket Centre
- Castletown House and parklands
- Céide Fields
- Charles For
- Corlea Trackway
- Desmond Castle
- Dún Aoghnasa
- Emo Estate
- Fota Arboretum & Gardens
- Glebe Gallery
- Hill of Tara site
- JFK Arboretum
- Jerpoint Abbey
- Kells Priory
- Kilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens
- National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin
- Old Mellifont Abbey
- Ormond Castle
- Pearse Museum, Rathfarnham
- Pearse Cottage
- Portumna Castle Estate
- Rathfarnham Castle
- Roscrea Heritage grounds
- Scattery Island
- Trim Castle
Other sites such as Rock of Cashel, Clonmacnoise and Garinish Island will be half-price admission for the remainder of the year.
It is strongly advised you check with each heritage site in advance for booking policies before you hit the road. Due to social distancing measures, slots are limited, and opening times may now vary.
For more information and a full list of Office of Public Works sites, visit www.heritageireland.ie.