Wednesday 23 January 2019

Call to reopen castle to the public

Ballymote Bulletin

A Ballymote County Councillor is calling on the OPW Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran to reopen the town's castle to the public.

The OPW told Cllr Keith Henry that the castle is closed off due to safety concerns and that permission to enter is required in advance by email, a policy that he describes as a "step backwards and has led to the Castle being closed off from the enjoyment of the public".

"This week the Ballymote heritage weekend takes place and a number of weeks ago I wrote to Minister Moran to invite him down with a view of firstly re-opening it to the public and secondly explore the possibility of a visitor or interpretive centre," Cllr Henry said.

Cllr Henry previously raised concern at the closure of the castle to the public at a Council meeting in 2017.

"The castle is of huge benefit in terms of a public amenity for visitors to the town and indeed the region. Built around 1300, it is one of the last Norman castles built in Connacht. It has been included on several tourist guides for the County and is well signposted by the Council, but there is little point in telling people about it if they can't get into it," he said.

The Fianna Fáil Councillor, who is a History teacher himself in Carrick-on-Shannon Community School, says that "the castle offers a great visual aide in terms of educating the children of the area".

He said he is awaiting a date for Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran's visit to Ballymote.

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