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Home Tourist Attraction International consultants to plan transformation of Limerick’s King John’s Castle into major attraction

International consultants to plan transformation of Limerick’s King John’s Castle into major attraction

by Staff

A new chapter is set to open for Limerick’s King John’s Castle, with international design consultants appointed to prepare a Masterplan that will help transform the 13th-century castle into a visitor attraction.

A total of €2.26m has been secured from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to develop the site as a key tourist attraction in the region.

A multi-disciplinary design team headed up by international design practice Galmstrup Architects has been appointed to maximise the potential of Limerick’s largest cultural and heritage sites.

King John’s Castle is an Anglo-Norman castle on the east bank of the Shannon. Originally constructed as a military fortification, the Castle has undergone several battles across its 800-year history. 

The complex now comprises the 13th-century courtyard castle, the modernist Visitor Centre building and the later Castle Lane Interpretative Centre building. The castle is open to the public 362 days of the year and welcomes in excess of 100,000 visitors annually.

Welcoming the appointment, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Gerald Mitchell said, “King John’s Castle has been the jewel in the crown of Limerick in so many respects dating back to the 13the century. 

“What we are now embarking on is turning this incredible opportunity we have here on the banks of the Shannon into a truly world-class visitor attraction for the future.” 

Minister of State with Responsibility for Local Government and Planning Kieran O’Donnell TD said, “King John’s Castle is one of the finest Irish castles with a rich history and sits on the banks of our majestic and internationally renowned River Shannon. I am delighted to have secured €2.26m in funding from my Department for the Castle’s further development as a key tourist attraction in the region in November 2023.

Mr O’Donnell added that the funding will support the development of the castle’s masterplan and that he looked forward to the enhanced tourism offering for visitors to the region.

The King John’s Castle Masterplan, which is funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, is the latest initiative by the wholly owned Limerick City and County Council subsidiary, Discover Limerick Development Activity Company (DAC), which was launched two years ago by the local authority. 

Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council said, “We established Discover Limerick DAC to grow Limerick’s status as a leading Irish tourism destination and, in doing so, contribute to the region’s economic growth. This masterplan is early evidence of that.”

Anne Marie Galmstrup, a Director with Galmstrup Architects, said, “We’ve spent decades specialising in cultural and community projects internationally and King John’s Castle is right up there in terms of its historical and architectural importance. It’s location on the banks of such a majestic Irish river adds another special layer of interest to the project.” 

Tim O’Connor, Interim Chairperson of Discover Limerick DAC said, “Limerick has such a proud history and King John’s Castle is the ultimate emblem of that. It’s one that we have yet to truly make the most of and that’s what this masterplan is going to address, in a way that will significantly increase visitor numbers from the 100,000 per annum today and be a significant driver of our economy.

Gordon Daly, Director of Economic Development and Tourism with responsibility for Discover Limerick DAC said, “We have an opportunity here to do something completely unique with this incredible building and we’ve brought on board international experts to guide us in this.”

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