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Town is losing out with Friary still shut

THE continued closure of Ennis Friary has been described as “appalling” with the county capital losing out on the financial boost the popular tourist attraction could bring this summer.
The friary, which dates back to the 13th century, has been closed to the public since last summer due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The Office of Public Works does not have an opening date for the Friary, the monthly meeting of the Ennis Municipal District was told. Councillor Mary Howard had sought clarity on when the OPW planned on reopening the historic building on Lower Abbey Street.
Responding to the query, Niamh O’Connor, Administrative Officer, stated that the Ennis Municipal District received correspondence from Trish Ryan, Heritage Services – National Monuments Administration at the Office of Public Works, advising that “the Office Of Public Works do not have an opening date for Ennis Friary.”
Councillor Howard voiced disappointment at the response saying the closure has meant that Ennis is losing out.
“We are promoting ourselves as a staycation destination. We have a great retail mix, great hotels, restaurants and bars, but our heritage is weak.
“They did not open the Friary last year, and I am going to keep asking to ensure the OPW will open the building this year.”
She pointed out that because of Covid-19 those schools who chose to have tours for their pupils have stayed within the county, and Ennis Friary would have been a very popular destination if it had been open.
“We have missed the bounce. Most schools have not gone outside the county on their school tours and if the Friary was open it would have been seen as one of the places to go to.”
She said that tourists visiting the Friary result in a financial “knock-on effect” for other businesses in the town.
“We have this great incredible ruin of a monastery that nobody can get access to, it’s appalling to see it sitting there locked up since the summer of last year.”
The motion was supported by Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy.

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