Some €1.6m has been earmarked for the refurbishment of a historic house in Cork, on the site of one of Ireland’s top free visitor attractions.
The funding will give the green light for works on Doneraile Court, in North Cork. This will enable public access to the ground floor and provide visitor reception and an interpretive exhibition area in the three main reception rooms of the house.
The magnificent house, which dates to the late 1600s, sits on the walled Doneraile Wildlife Park. The site, in excess of 400 acres, boasts deer and cattle herds, formal gardens, walks along the Awbeg River, and plants and wildlife.
It was last year named by Fáilte Ireland as the country’s fourth most popular free visitor attraction.
Labour TD, Sean Sherlock, said the funding is “a vital announcement for North Cork and the wider Cork region”.
“The tender has been issued and this will allow greater public access to the ground floor and an interpretive visitor area. This is another feather in the cap for Doneraile Park, as a major amenity. This will benefit everyone who uses that park,” the Cork East TD said.
“People are proud of Doneraile and I want to thank [OPW] Minister Kevin Boxer Moran, who visited in July last year. The minister has honoured the commitment he made then. It will take some time, but it is a major bonus for the people of this region. I await further details from the minister, on the timescales involved, but this announcement keeps Doneraile on the OPW agenda and I will make sure it stays there.”
Fáilte Ireland said Doneraile Wildlife Park had 480,000 visitors last year, an 11% increase on the year previous, putting it ahead of the National Museum of Ireland, Fota Wildlife Park, and Blarney Castle.
A spokesperson for the OPW said it has invited tenders for the works: “The outcome of the tender process will inform an accurate estimate of cost. The matter of funding is under active consideration, at present.”
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