The Department for Communities has announced that two State Care Monuments will be closed to the public to enable essential conservation works over the next 18-24 months and that additional measures will be put in place at a further three sites until conservation works can be completed.
The works are primarily concerned with safeguarding the historic fabric of the sites and ensuring they continue to be safe places to visit and enjoy.
Works are planned at Kinbane Castle, Dundrum Castle, Grey Abbey, Church Island (Lough Beg) and Devenish Monastic Site, and will focus upon the historic masonry of those sites. There will be no public access to Kinbane Castle or Church Island during works, whilst public access will continue to be facilitated at Grey Abbey and Dundrum Castle with some areas fenced off. Additional signage will be put in place at Devenish Monastic Site and some areas may in due course be required to be fenced off.
The conservation requirements have been identified through condition surveys and site assessments, which are part of the routine management of the historic structures and visitor safety at the sites. These are supported by specialist surveys and recommendations, and works will be undertaken by conservation specialists.
Iain Greenway, Director of Historic Environment Division, said: “The works planned are in response to the conservation needs of the sites, and are required in order that they can continue to be safe places for the public to visit and enjoy. It will require the partial or complete closure of the sites, as the works progress, so that the works can be carried out safely for staff, contractors and the wider public.
“These works are part of the ongoing activity to conserve and protect the 190 historic monuments in State Care that are managed by the Department for Communities. It is likely that the full or partial closures will be in place for the next 18-24 months, until the work is completed.
“These historic monuments are essential parts of our landscape. They are often constant features in our changing world, familiar landmarks and places that are cherished locally. These monuments also form a key part of our wider economy, especially in relation to tourism. During lock-down many sites took on additional importance as places where people could visit, get outdoors and exercise. However, in order for these sites to continue to be safe places for the public to visit, they require regular and ongoing maintenance to ensure they are preserved for now and future generations.”
Notes to editors:
- Caption: Dundrum Castle
- The Department for Communities manages some 190 individual and groups of historic monuments in ‘State Care’, including some of our best-known and most visited sites such as the historic Derry’s Walls, Dunluce Castle, Carrickfergus Castle, Navan Fort and Devenish Monastic Site.
- There is a five-year cyclical programme of site inspection to assess condition and risks, with more frequent inspections of sites with ongoing or emerging conservation needs, and those sites with substantial numbers of visitors each year.
- For a list of State Care Monument sites that are open go to: www.communities-ni.gov.uk/articles/historic-places-visit
- Media enquiries to DfC Press Office on 028 9082 3532 or email:
- The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
- Follow the Department on Twitter @CommunitiesNI
- Further information can be obtained at: #LoveHeritageNI
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