King John’s Castle fortified with €2.2million in new funding

News of the €2m in funding for King John's Castle has received a wide welcome.

THE announcement of significant new funding for one of Limerick’s landmark tourist and heritage destinations has received a blanket welcome countywide.

It was announced yesterday (Wednesday) that €2.264million in Government funding had been secured for the continued development of King John’s Castle to support the local landmark’s ongoing development as a top tourist attraction for both Limerick City and the wider Mid West region.

The funding round, which was agreed by the Government’s Select Committee after proposal by the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage, will see the €2m package delivered to Limerick City and County Council before the end of this year.

Welcoming the funding, Minister of State with the Department and Limerick TD Kieran O’Donnell said: “The transfer of King John’s Castle to Limerick City and County Council was a positive move for all concerned. The site is of huge cultural value and the transfer has ensured its continued access by the community and wider public.”

“I believe that the funding package agreed will enable Limerick City and County Council to preserve the historical integrity of King John’s Castle and fully realise the great potential of the castle as a major visitor attraction in the region.”

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The management and operation of King John’s Castle was formally transferred to Limerick City and County Council (LCCC) in April of last year from Shannon Heritage. It has operated since under the care of Discover Limerick DAC – a subsidiary of LCCC – who are presently developing a maser plan for the castle which will provide a “strategic roadmap to transform King John’s Castle into a world-class, must see visitor attraction”.

According to the Departing of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage, Discover Limerick DAC’s master plan will “will identify ways to enhance the significance and experience of the castle within its medieval King’s Island setting and position the area as a major visitor hub”.

“The goal is to significantly increase the value of the castle as a visitor attraction that delivers sustainable socio-economic benefits for the city and region.”

Limerick Mayor Gerald Mitchell also welcomed the announcement, saying that the funding “fortifies King John’s Castle and will propel the historic tourist attraction into a new era.”

LCCC’s director of economic development and tourism with responsibility for Discover Limerick DAC, Gordon Daly, added that the funding  “will allow Discover Limerick DAC to continue its work in enhancing the visitor experience to one of Limerick’s most popular and historic landmarks. It will also allow the company to proceed with a strategic masterplan for King John’s Castle that will enable the Council to increase the value of the castle as a world-class visitor attraction that delivers cultural and economic benefits for Limerick and the wider Wild Atlantic Way region.”

Visitor numbers in 2022 for the historic Limerick castle were above 90,000, with that number already surpassed this year.

Complimenting the work of Discover Limerick DAC, Cllr Tom Collopy, local to the King’s Island area, said that he was “fortunate enough to grow up extremely close to King John’s Castle and over the years I have seen its progress ebb and flow for a location for housing to its falling into disrepair and its revitalisation over recent years. The work of Discover Limerick in a short time has delivered increased visitor footfall and re-established the castle as an iconic symbol of Limerick. I commend them for their work and I welcome this new government funding.”