From today, entry fees to most of the OPW’s 70 heritage sites will be waived to encourage people to holiday at home. The measure, which is part of the Government’s July stimulus plan, remains in place until the end of the year.
It’s a positive move, and not just because it will help to boost domestic tourism. How many of us have made a mental note to visit the historic houses, castles, gardens, and museums on our own doorsteps, but never quite got around to it?
Or, perhaps, we haven’t even noticed them in the first place. As Austrian writer Robert Musil once noted: “There is nothing as invisible as a monument”. Now is your chance to stop and notice the public artworks that too often recede unnoticed into the background.
But, as in all areas of public life now, we have to get the balance right. Ten popular heritage sites will continue to charge half their entry fee to prevent overcrowding. So the message is: get out and enjoy what our heritage has to offer, just remember to do so safely.