Invitation to a free tour of Doneraile Park
AN open invitation has been issued to the public to take part in a fascinating free tour of the world renowned gardens at Doneraile Park.
The tour, which will take place at 2.30pm on Sunday, June 1, will be conducted by members of the Doneraile Development Association (DDA).
Association secretary Michael O'Sullivan said the 90-minute tour will offer visitors the opportunity to explore sections of the park they might not be familiar with.
"Our guides will be able to fill people on the fascinating history of Doneraile Park, its extensive gardens and on plans Office of Public Works (OPW) has to further enhance the Park," said Mr O'Sullivan.
In recent years the OPW has invested more than €500,000 in the Park on a variety of projects including the restoration of its famous Triumphal Arch and the opening of tea rooms.
Planning permission has also been granted to convert the lower floor of Doneraile House into a dedicated exhibition space, with work on the project set to get underway shortly.
Mr O'Sullivan said the programme of works had raised the profile of the Park with a corresponding increase in the number of visitors each year.
It had been estimated that 150,000 people passed through he gates in 2013, placing it among the top 20% of Irish visitor attractions.
However, Mr O'Sullivan said a recent analysis of figures seemed to suggest visitor numbers during 2013 were higher than at first thought.
He said the DDA plan to put that to the test on Monday, June 2 by undertaking a comprehensive count of visitors to the Park during the day.
Mr O'Sullivan said the purpose of the exercise was twofold.
"Firstly it will give us an accurate representation of visitor numbers. We can then use these figures to make our case for additional funding for further enhancement projects within the Park," said he said.
"We will be hoping to access tourism grants in the future through Minister Leo Varadkar on the strength of our visitor numbers. With that in mind we would ask that people considering visiting the park on the June bank holiday Monday to help strengthen our case for further funding," he added.