Councillors in East Cork area are calling for works at the Barryscourt castle to completed as soon as possible so it can be reopened to benefit tourism and the local economy.
Barryscourt Castle is a thousand-year-old castle near Carrigtwohill. The current structure dates from the 15th century.
The Barryscourt Trust was established in 1987 in order to conserve the site. The building was reroofed by Duchas in the ‘90s and the Office of Public Works took over the site and it was established as a popular tourist site.
The castle has been closed for the last two years for rewiring and other works.
Councillor Noel Collins said the castle should be returned to local ownership once works have been completed.
“To help the local economy, I would ask that the development be expedited,” he said.
“When work on the castle is completed I would request this Council to support my proposal to have those responsible to hand over the castle to our very active and responsible community council…to ensure the castle is kept open for tourists and natives and to accommodate conferences in the region,” he added.
Anthony Barry (FG) the closure of Barryscourt Castle for the last two years was “regrettable” but was necessary to ensure health and safety. He said there were issues around the Barryscourt Trust’s ownership of the building.
He added he would like to see greater local community involvement in the running of the castle in the future.
Cork County Council heritage officer Conor Nelligan said the responsibility of the of works and reopening lies with the Office of Public Works (OPW).
“Cork County Council regularly encourages the restoration and preservation of heritage buildings across the County,” he said, “With respect to Barryscourt Castle, same is owned by the OPW and the OPW has undertaken significant restoration work over the years. The site is currently closed to the public due to internal renovation works. And there are plans to re-point the external walls of the structure to prevent water ingress,” he added.
It is anticipated the site will be reopened in summer 2018.