Friday 23 August 2019

Funding of €900,000 announced for Doneraile Court restoration project

The allocation is part of a €1.6million funding package for the restoration and fitting out of the ground floor at the stately Doneraile Court
The allocation is part of a €1.6million funding package for the restoration and fitting out of the ground floor at the stately Doneraile Court

Bill Browne

Funding to the tune of €900,000 has been allocated for a major refurbishment project that will help further bolster Doneraile Wildlife Park's position as one of the country's top free visitor attractions. 

The chair of the Doneraile Development Association (DDA), Willie Pat Hallihan, has warmly welcomed the allocation, the first tranche of a €1.6 million funding package announced earlier this year for the restoration of the historic buildings lower floor. 

Mr Hallihan said the initial allocation would be used to fund a major project on the ground floor of the landmark Doneraile Court,  which dates back to the late 1600's. 

"We have been lobbying for this funding for a couple of years and are delighted that OPW Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran has approved the money needed to start the project," said Mr Hallihan. 

The work will entail the complete restoration of the floor, which Mr Hallihan said was in quite poor condition, and the creation of wheelchair friendly public and exhibition spaces. 

He said the works would kick start the next development phase at Doneraile Park, which welcomed more than 480,000 visitors through its gates last year. 

"Our hope is that this will help attract even more visitors to Doneraile Park over the coming years, creating a significant financial spin-off for Doneraile Village and the wider north Cork region," said Mr Hallihan.

"Once this phase of the development has been completed it is intended that the remaining balance of the overall package will be used to furnish and fit out the ground floor," he added. 

News of the funding release has been welcomed by Cork East TD's Sean Sherlock (Lab) and Minister for State David Stanton (FG), with the latter saying was his understanding work on the refurbishment was due to commence shortly.

"Doneraile Court is a magnificent building that I have visited on a number of occasions recently and was hugely impressed with its potential. This announcement is great news for Doneraile and for the wider north Cork region as it will greatly enhance the tourism product of the area" said Minister Stanton. Describing Doneraile as "the jewel in the crown of north Cork', Deputy Sherlock said Doneraile Court was an important piece in that jigsaw. 

"This is vital announcement for north Cork , the wider Cork region and  another feather in the cap for Doneraile Park as a major amenity. A letter  of acceptance to contractor Mr Eamon Costello has been issued and work is due to start on site in the coming weeks," Deputy Sherlock. 

He said it was important to note that Minister Moran had fulfilled the funding pledge he made to Deputy Sherlock and the local community during his visit to Doneraile last July. 

"The Minister has honoured the commitment he made then and while it will take some time for the project to come to fruition, this will be major boost for the region," said Deputy Sherlock. 

"Additional works will be required by Historic Properties to fit-out the Exhibition space once the refurbishment contract is complete," he added.