20 May 2022

Free admission to Kilkenny's OPW visitor sites as part of Government’s recovery and reopening plan

John Paul: Great news for tourism industry in in Kilkenny and those exploring staycation options this summer

Kilkenny Jerpoint Abbey

The ancient Jerpoint Abbey

Admission charges to all fee-paying open OPW heritage sites in Kilkenny are being waived in line with the Government’s recovery and reopening plan outlined in The Path Ahead.

Outside access is open at both Jerpoint Abbey and Kells Priory. Kilkenny Castle is open to self-guided tours while the tearooms are open outdoors and Covid protocols are still in operation in the playground, which is open.

With inter-county travel possible once again and museums and galleries allowed to reopen earlier this week, this measure aims to support the domestic tourism industry and local businesses relying on it. The measure is effective immediately and will remain in force until the end of the year.

Local Fine Gael TD John Paul Phelan has welcomed the announcement from Minister for the Office of Public Works (OPW) Patrick O’ Donovan which will support the tourism industry and businesses in Kilkenny by incentivising people to discover, enjoy and cherish the many OPW heritage sites spread across the county.

“This is great news for the tourism industry in in Kilkenny and Carlow as well as for those who are exploring their staycation options this summer. With a growing list of open heritage sites and the easing of travel restrictions, we have a renewed opportunity to explore the treasures which the OPW holds in trust for the nation," said Deputy Phelan.

“Before Covid-19, OPW’s visitor attractions would have welcomed over 9 million visitors a year – many of them international visitors – contributing significantly to cultural and heritage tourism in Ireland. 2021 will be different, as all easing of restrictions at OPW’s sites is done carefully and in line with public health guidelines. However, there are already 54 out of 90 OPW sites with visitor services open either in part or fully around the country, meaning there is something for everyone to discover and enjoy.

“This is now the second year in a row that the Government has acted to capitalise on, and contribute to, our historical and cultural destinations by making all of the OPW heritage sites that would normally have an admission fee free for all citizens looking for an enjoyable way to spend their holidays in 2021.

“The economy has suffered a huge shock because of Covid-19, and the pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge to the Carlow and Kilkenny tourism sector where many people depend on a strong visitor economy to provide them with jobs. Government continues to support businesses in the tourism sector and the OPW heritage sites will play a part in the path to recovery by making it attractive cost-wise for individuals and families to visit.

“As a society, we’ve all endured a huge amount in the past few months and I’m hoping this measure will remind people of what’s on their doorstep here in both Kilkenny and Carlow as well as further afield, and encourage them to help our tourism industry to make it through 2021.

“I’d encourage everyone to get out there and see what Ireland has to offer, and I hope people will discover something new or maybe even relive a childhood experience of visiting one of our iconic monuments with their own families this summer,” concluded Deputy Phelan.

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