WITH many heritage sites around the country reopening for a new season, Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan has taken the opportunity to highlight a number of works planned at Desmond Castle in Newcastle West by the Office of Public Works (OPW) this year.
These include the appointment 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 that the enhancement works would 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 this year,’ he explained.
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.
Taking a broader view of the West Limerick tourism scene, Minister O’Donovan said that with the opening of the Limerick Greenway last year, Desmond Castle was put on the map for many new visitors.
“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,” he added.