Trust applies for castle planning
THE Irish Heritage Trust has applied for planning permission for the development of under-used Johnstown Castle, which is set to become a major tourist attraction.
The project will be carried out by Teagasc in partnership with the Trust and the Irish Agricultural Museum with the help of €7.5 million in government funding. If things proceed smoothly, the development should be completed by 2018.
The Johnstown Castle Act had left the castle for agricultural use and the just-filed planning application includes a change of use as well as the upgrade works.
The project will see conservation works carried out on the three floors of the castle to make it safe and accessible before it becomes open to the public.
An interpretive centre with information on the castle's history and local stories will be positioned behind the agricultural museum next to a new carpark.
The planning application includes a pet farm, play areas, and a change of use to accommodate tourism, a museum, civil ceremonies, public events, commercial and heritage activities.
A Visitors' Centre development will include a kitchen, restaurant, retail and a visistor experience.
The plan also includes new entrance arrangements off the Murrintown Road and the construction of an internal road network. At present, there is one entrance used for the state agencies based on the castle grounds, while another is used by visitors to the castle. In 2015, Teagasc issued a public tender looking for a visionary partner to come on board with them to re-imagine the future of Johnstown Castle. The Irish Heritage Trust was announced as the successful applicant.