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Tag Archives: Knappogue Castle

Councillors hail opportunities from heritage sites transfer

THE Chief Executive of the local authority has pledged to spend the summer working to secure the national support that will be needed if Shannon Heritage’s Clare attractions are to transfer to the council. At July meeting of the authority, a number of members welcomed the announcement that a process of due diligence involving the council and Shannon Group is underway. Chief Executive Pat Dowling told members that he is putting a council team together with the necessary financial and legal expertise and that he himself will meet staff at the Clare attractions in the month of August. News of the potential transfer was announced at the end of last month. It followed a protracted period of uncertainty and intermittent closure, caused by Covid restrictions, for Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Knappogue Castle and Craggaunowen, as well as Shannon Heritage’s other sites. The matter was noted at the local authority meeting by Councillor Joe Garrihy who described the potential transfer …

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Quin residents say Knappogue and Craggaunowen have been ‘abandoned’

CONCERN in the Quin area over the ongoing closure of two local Shannon Heritage sites has prompted a call for an action committee to ensure their future. With the advent of the pandemic last March, five sites in Clare and Limerick faced an uncertain future, due to the collapse in overseas visitor numbers. Only Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and King John’s Castle in Limerick have managed to stay open after intense campaigns involving staff, unions and politicians, and a promise of funding from government – the exact details of which are still being ironed out. Ger O’Halloran of Quin, a businessman and former local election candidate, has pleaded with those responsible not to abandon Knappogue Castle and Craggaunowen, and called for a local action committee to be established. “To look at Knappogue now, it is locked up and unkempt looking,” he remarked. “The longer it is closed, the more it will cost to get it open again. To maintain …

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Craggaunowen closure ‘ideological’ says McNamara

FUTURE development of tourism in East Clare will require new strategies to ensure that key historical sites are sustained as drivers of economic activity, according to a local TD. Scariff’s Deputy Michael McNamara has made the case, once again, for an alternative management structure for the Clare sites operated currently by Shannon Heritage. Since the advent of the pandemic, sites like Craggaunowen and Knappogue Castle outside the village of Quin have remained closed, amid a steep fall-off in international visitor numbers. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, which had been set to close in the autumn, secured an eleventh hour reprieve after a government funding injection of €2.6m. The money will enable it and King John’s Castle to stay open until the end of this year. Speaking to Scariff Bay Community Radio, the Independent TD said he had raised the need to support the wider Shannon Group, with Micheál Martin, before and since his election as Taoiseach. Deputy McNamara added that …

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Carey calls for takeover of Shannon Heritage sites

The possibility of transferring Shannon Heritage sites under the control of the local authority or the Office of Public Works must be “explored and supported”, Clare TD Joe Carey has said. Deputy Carey spoke out after he received confirmation that the Government is to carry out a review of the Shannon Group, which currently operates the heritage sites. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and St John’s Castle in Limerick have reopened after the lockdown but are due to close again at the end of August. Other key sites such as Craggaunowen Castle, Knappogue Castle and Dunguaire Castle have not reopened, which has created great uncertainty among Shannon Heritage employees. Speaking after he met with Shannon Heritage workers on Monday, Deputy Carey called on the Shannon Group to make a formal application for further supports to enable the heritage sites to reopen on a year-round basis. The local Fine Gael TD said: “I have raised this in the Dáil on several occasions – including last week …

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Call for Council to Take Over Craggaunowen Vistor Centre

ONE of the pioneers of tourism in Clare would be “turning in his grave” at the decision to curtail access to Shannon Heritage facilities, a local authority member has said. Councillor Pat Hayes has slammed the decision to keep Knappogue Castle and Craggaunowen closed until further notice, in response to the pandemic, and to limit the season for Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. He said the situation flew in the face of the legacy of Dr Brendan O’Regan, who was instrumental in developing the amenities. “Given how important domestic tourism will be this year, and the fact that people are looking for facilities close to home, the decision is very disappointing,” he said. “As well as their importance to tourism in the midwest, these are vital facilities in terms of Irish history and heritage. Dr Brendan O’Regan would be turning in his grave over this.” The Fianna Fáil member there is now a strong case for a local authority take-over …

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11% boost in Shannon Heritage visitor numbers

Shannon Heritage has announced that an 11% increase in visitor numbers was recorded in 2014, offering further evidence of a resurgence in local tourism and indeed in the domestic economy. Shannon Heritage employs more than 300 people during peak season and it operates seven daytime visitor attractions, including Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Craggaunowen, Knappogue Castle and Walled Garden, Dunguaire Castle, the Brian Boru Heritage and Malahide Castle and Gardens. It also has another four evening attractions, with medieval banquets at Bunratty, Knappogue and Dunguaire Castle, as well as a traditional Irish night at Bunratty Folk Park. Overall, they drew 637,000 visitors last year, with the day attractions up by more than 13%, while there are said to have been particular gains from Britain, America and Europe. Indeed, last year was the company’s most successful in terms of visitor numbers since 2007. The single biggest success among the Shannon Heritage operations last year was at King John’s Castle in Limerick, …

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