Carrick on Suir's Ormond Castle
Major upgrades to Ormond Castle have been officially opened today following €270,000 investment through Fáilte Ireland’s strategic partnership with the Office of Public Works (OPW) and the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht.John McMahon, Heritage Commissioner at the OPW and Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland, today unveiled a new interpretative scheme for the Castle at a special event in Carrick-on-Suir.
The interpretation and exhibition project, which started last year after the major phase of restoration to the physical structure had been completed, will greatly enhance the visitor experience at Ormond Castle, building on its existing reputation with visitors as one of the key sites on the Butler trail and positioning it as a key attraction within Ireland’s Ancient East.
This is just the first phase of funding by Fáilte Ireland into Ormond Castle with further investment planned to enhance the wider site.
“Ormond Castle is the best example of an Elizabethan manor house in Ireland and the only major unfortified dwelling from the Tudor period still in existence” said Commissioner Mc Mahon today. “The castle was built by Thomas Butler, the 10th Earl of Ormond in the 1560’s, who was a ward of the English Royal Court and the castle plasterwork, regarded as of the finest decorative plasterwork in Ireland, is testament to Butler’s close relationship with Queen Elizabeth I. We are really happy to have this site in our care and it sits beside Kilkenny Castle and the Swiss Cottage as the other magnificent Butler-related sites in the portfolio.”
The newly launched Interpretative Scheme at Ormond will allow visitors to explore and engage with the great stories and characters associated with Ormond Castle and provide visitors with real insights. Interactive digital books on Tudor lecterns will provide information in eight languages on the paintings, the OPW’s restoration and the rich heraldic symbolism on Ormond's plaster ceilings, friezes and stone carved mantelpieces.
The development of the interpretative scheme at Ormond Castle is part of a €16m investment by Fáilte Ireland in 18 key OPW projects to significantly enhance the visitor experience at key locations across the country.
Minister for the OPW and Flood Relief Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said:
“Today is an important day for Carrick-on-Suir and for the surrounding region. Historical and cultural sites have an important function in presenting Irish heritage to overseas tourists and are a vital attraction for both local and foreign visitors, playing an important role in stimulating economic development, particularly at community level. The enhanced visitor experience at Ormond will ensure that visitors have an opportunity to immerse themselves in the history of the building and of the Butler family who lived here, in a truly unique and engaging way. Further to this, the enhanced visitor experience has the potential to make a significant and sustainable positive impact on the community. Overall I believe the Fáilte Ireland and OPW strategic partnership is an investment that will generate returns in the form of social benefits and economic growth.”
Speaking at the launch Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland said:
“It’s incredibly important that we build and develop visitor attractions to give overseas tourists more reasons to visit Ireland. Tourism is a highly competitive business and we need to continue to innovate in order to stand out in the international marketplace. Fáilte Ireland is currently working on 47 large capital projects across the country and Ormond Castle, as part of our strategic partnership with the OPW, is one of these. Investing in Ormond Castle made perfect sense as there is huge potential to encourage visitors to explore Carrick-on-Suir and the surrounding towns and landscape, enhancing tourism benefits for the entire region.”
Ormond Castle is open to the public until the 3rd November. For more information go to www.heritageireland.ie/en/south-east/ormondcastle/