The Construction contract for work on the new Kilmainham Courthouse visitor centre has been officially signed.
The site has been vacant since 2008, and extensive refurbishments will see it made fit to provide additional space for the approximately 335,000 annual visitors to Kilmainham Gaol.
The museum was recently awarded first place in the 2015 Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Awards for Landmarks.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “Clearly, visitors all over the world have realised that Kilmainham is a very special place and are continuing to come here in ever increasing numbers.
“I am very happy that when the new development in the Courthouse is in place, we will be able to guarantee an even better experience for visitors to the site.”
The new visitor centre was boosted by government funding to the tune of €5m, and is to be undertaken by Inchicore-based firm PJ Hegarty and Sons.
Minister Harris added: “I am particularly happy that the contract has been won by a local firm, and I would hope that many local people will be able to benefit from the investment the government is providing the area.”
Renovations will be completed by next year, in time for a wreath-laying ceremony which will take place in the Gaol on Easter Sunday as part of the 1916 centenary celebrations.
Also present today was Minister for the Arts Heather Humphreys, who said that visitors to the former prison will feel the practical benefit of the new facility.
She said: “It is going to be a great project because the Courthouse is going to allow people who want to visit the Gaol to be able to come in there be able to wait there until they go on their tour, and it will be a huge change from them standing and queueing down the street.”