The Irish Government has announced that as of today, May 14, admission charges to all fee-paying open OPW heritage sites are being waived.

Mr. Patrick O’ Donovan T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) outlined the plans in accordance with the Government's recovery and reopening plan for Ireland.

With inter-county travel possible once again and museums and galleries allowed to reopen earlier this week, this measure will support the domestic tourism industry and local businesses.

Minister @podonovan announced today that admission charges to all fee-paying open OPW heritage sites are being waived until the end of the year. Explore what Ireland has to offer for your next outing or summer staycation on https://t.co/4vlqWCK2EJ#LoveIreland #DiscoverIreland pic.twitter.com/QhvTwhz1P2

— Office of Public Works (@opwireland) May 14, 2021

Research by Fáilte Ireland indicates that significant numbers of domestic visitors cited history and culture destinations as one of their motivating factors for visiting places in Ireland. The hope is that people will enjoy the many OPW heritage sites, parks, and museums spread across the country as they plan their staycations this summer.

"Since the careful and gradual easing of restrictions in late April, we have been able to open the outdoor spaces at many historic heritage sites and on Monday this week, the doors of such iconic attractions as Brú Na Bóinne Visitor Centre, Dublin Castle, and Kilkenny Castle opened to visitors again," O’Donovan said. 

"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. I think that the initiative I am introducing today as part of the Government’s recovery plan will appeal to people who are exploring options for staycations this year," he added.

The OPW noted: "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.

"Neolithic tombs older than the pyramids at Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth and Loughcrew; stone forts like Dún Aonghasa; medieval castles in Trim and Cahir, historic battlefields like the Battle of the Boyne in Oldbridge; magical islands like Garinish Island in West Cork; stately homes sitting in beautifully landscaped parks such as Castletown House in Celbridge, Doneraile Court in Co. Cork, and Emo Court in Co. Laois; the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell, Derrynane House, and Patrick Pearse’s summer cottage in Ros Muc to name just a few.

Minister O'Donovan said: “As a society, we have all endured a huge amount in the past few months and I’m hoping with this measure to remind people of what’s on their doorstep here in Ireland and encourage them to help Ireland’s tourism industry to make it through 2021.

"Hopefully people will be able to discover something new or maybe they’ll be able to relive a childhood experience of visiting one of our country’s iconic monuments with their own families, but I’d encourage everyone to get out there and see what Ireland has to offer.”

The measure is effective immediately and will remain in force until the end of the year. A full list of the OPW Heritage Sites can be found here.

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