CORK has received a major tourism boost ahead of an expected busy summer season with free admission announced for some of its most popular visitor attractions, including Charles Fort in Kinsale and the magical island of Garnish Island which is located just off Glengarriff.
Other Cork OPW sites include Doneraile Court House and Fota Arboretum Gardens.
The Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) Patrick O’Donovan announced that admission charges to all fee-paying open OPW heritage sites are being waived in line with the Government’s recovery and reopening plan.
With inter-county travel possible once again, museums and galleries allowed to reopen earlier this week, this measure will support the domestic tourism industry and local businesses relying on it by incentivising people in Ireland to discover, enjoy and cherish the many OPW heritage sites, parks, and museums spread across the country as they plan their staycations this summer.
The measure is effective immediately and will remain in force until the end of the year.
“We are in the early stages of the recovery phase of the pandemic, but we are all beginning to enjoy the brighter days we have waited for and looked forward to so much over the past months,” the Minister said.
“Throughout lockdown, the OPW kept the parks and gardens it manages open wherever it was possible to do so safely, and, as a result, provided important amenities for our wellbeing in a difficult time.
"This initiative will appeal to people who are exploring options for staycations this year.”
Research by Fáilte Ireland indicates that significant numbers of domestic visitors cited history and culture destinations as one of their motivating factors for visiting places in Ireland.
For the second year in a row, the Minister has therefore acted to capitalise on, and contribute to, the domestic tourism market by making all of OPW’s heritage sites that would normally have an admission fee-free for all citizens looking for an enjoyable way to spend their holidays in 2021.
“The economy has suffered a huge shock because of Covid-19,” the Minister said:
“OPW heritage sites will play a part in the path to recovery by making it attractive cost-wise for individuals and families to visit.”
The Minister concluded: “I’m hoping with this measure to remind people of what’s on their doorstep here and encourage them to help Ireland’s tourism industry to make it through 2021. I’d encourage everyone to get out there and see what Ireland has to offer.”