LOCALS and visitors alike are invited to “step into our story” as a number of the national landmarks across Clare and the Mid-West that the OPW holds in trust for the nation reopen for the season.
These include Ennis Friary, a medieval Franciscan friary and the last school of Catholic theology to survive the Reformation; and Portumna Castle and Gardens at the top of Lough Derg, power base of the De Burgo family for hundreds of years. While in May, Scattery Island, the early Christian settlement off Kilrush will open up.
Carmel Shaw OPW Head Guide at Ennis Friary in Clare said, “We are delighted to have the OPW heritage site at Ennis Friary open early this season giving our national and international visitors, our local community and our school groups more opportunities to visit one of Ireland’s oldest Franciscan friaries and burial place of the ancient kings of Clare.
“Since opening on St Patrick’s Day we have already welcomed local and national visitors and visitors from North and South America, several European countries, South Africa, and China. We look forward to adding many more to that list throughout the season which runs until November 5.”
Welcoming the reopening of the OPW Heritage sites for the summer season, Minister for the OPW Patrick O’Donovan T.D. stated, “I am delighted to see so many of Ireland’s tourism attractions re-open for the summer season, just in time for Easter weekend, offering a renewed opportunity to explore the treasures which the OPW holds in trust for the nation.
“The heritage landmarks re-opening, as well as those open all year, significantly contribute to the local sense of place, the local economy and are great places for all the family to enjoy.
“The OPW is working hard to safeguard our national landmarks and the preservation of these heritage sites shows the clear investment by the State in our heritage portfolio.”
On the first Wednesday of every month, visitors and families can enjoy free admission to Ennis Friary. The most recently compiled figures showed almost 13 million visitors stepped through the doors of OPW heritage sites in 2021.