New visitor centre at Johnstown Castle on track
A €7.5 million development project at Johnstown Castle which includes the construction of a new visitor centre is on track to open to the public in the spring of next year.
Teagasc and the Irish Heritage Trust have announced that work is well underway on the plan to provide an exciting new visitor experience at the Castle which is owned by the State.
Tom Doherty, Chief Operations Officer at Teagasc said a separate team is working on the restoration within the castle itself and the 86 metre-long Servants' Tunnel inside it and another project team is working on the construction of the 1,000 square metre visitor centre which will include a retail space and a 120-seat cafe. Clare McGrath,chairperson of the Irish Heritage Trust which was chosen as the successful applicant to work with Teagasc on the project said she looked forward to Johnstown Castle becoming one of Ireland's foremost tourist attractions.
'Johnstown Castle is a hugely significant building of national importance and the new visitor experience4 will be up there with the best of Ireland's tourism attractions and will be showcased at an international level', she said.
Ms. McGrath said visitors will enjoy a 'three-in-one attraction' including the Gothic Revival castle and adjoining Servants' Tunnel, the ornamental gardens designed by Daniel Robertson and the Irish Agricultural Museum in a 120-acre estate.
'The result will be a world class visitor attraction for everyone to enjoy which will create social and cultural benefits as well as increasing tourist numbers and revenue for Wexford', she said.
Ms. McGrath said the works taking place inside the castle and on the new visitor centre will continue during the summer months but despite this, Johnstown Castle remains open to visitors. 'The works do not impact on the facilities currently available to the public at the Agricultural Museum and Tearoom and in Johnstown Castle Gardens'. For the months of July and August, the museum, shop and tearoom will be open until 6pm every day and the gardens will be open until 6.30 pm. The Irish Heritage Trust is an independent charity which was established in July 2006 as a joint initiative between the Government and the voluntary sector. The Trust has had success in developing other heritage projects over the years including Fota House and Gardens in Cork and Strokestown Park and The National Famine Museum in Roscommon.