The way has been paved for a €1.2m upgrade of Derrynane House, the museum home of the “Liberator” Daniel O’Connell in south Kerry.
The works will include the provision of a lift and an exhibition space, a new visitor entrance, and the upgrade of toilets, tea rooms and car spaces.
The existing house, nestling in 120 hectares of exotic gardens and parkland overlooking Derrynane beach, is largely the result of O’Connell’s design in the 19th century.
During his grandparents’ time, it was one of the great Gaelic houses of the 18th century in the region.
Derrynane has seen an increase in tourist numbers in recent years and now gets more than 23,000 visitors a year — up 2,000 since 2009.
Set in what is a national historic park, it also includes a coach house, with O’Connell’s coach and a chapel built in 1844.
Kerry County Council granted permission to the Commissioners of Public Works to carry out the works.
The €1,220,891 upgrade was granted under the Tourism Capital Investment Grant of the National Development Plan.
The house was presented to the people of Ireland by the descendants of O’Connell in 1964.
It contains some large collections of furniture, paintings, books, and memorabilia associated with Daniel O’Connell and his family.
In addition, the park contains the remnants of a ring fort, an ogham stone and the ruins of the 10th century Ahamore Abbey on Abbey Island.
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