|Posted on November 26, 2014 at 2:55 PM|
Last week I asked Minister Humphreys to outline her plans for Killarney House and Gardens, to say when they will open, how they will be managed and staffed and what they will showcase. I am very pleased that she has confirmed that Killarney House and Gardens will open to the public in 2015.
In her response, Minister Humphreys discussed her visit to Killarney House on 29th September where she saw the work underway on the final phase of restoration, refurbishment and new. The refurbished house, in its historic and very beautiful setting, will function as a national park visitor centre and will provide an added attraction for visitors to the town.
The visitor centre project includes a newly built extension to the house, an interpretative centre for the national park. Also, as part of the new build element, the provision of exhibition space will be included to cater for temporary exhibitions, displays and cultural events. The original ornamental grounds and gardens immediately surrounding the house will also be restored, creating spectacular landscaped areas that will merge into the natural areas of the park and provide vistas linking the town to the scenery of mountain, wood and water. Minister Humphreys was very impressed by the restoration of the garden which took place on a phased basis. Phase one was completed in February 2012 and consisted of essential repair works, mainly to the external fabric of the building, including repairs to the roof, chimney stacks, flues, gutters, down-pipes, windows and drains. Phase two was completed in February 2013 and consisted of the further repair and stabilisation of the main building. The final phase of works to the house, which began in early January, is expected to be complete by early December 2014. The new-build extension and hard landscaping works; paths, paving and stonework are progressing, with the soft landscaping works due to commence shortly. In addition, planning for the interpretation for both the house and its ornamental grounds and gardens is advancing with expressions of interest recently sought by way of competitive tender for the position of interpretative exhibition designer to the project.
In relation to staffing arrangements for Killarney House, the Minister explained that the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is currently subject to the moratorium on public service recruitment. However, the staffing requirements for the house will remain the subject of ongoing.
Killarney House is a stunning venue located in the town of Killarney and in the national park at the Golden Gates. It has the potential to contain a most comprehensive introduction to Killarney national park and the gardens which are spread over 35 acres and will be a most attractive feature. The house, which was once home to the Earls of Kenmare and Lord Castlerosse has a rich and varied history.
For many years, I have campaigned to have this house restored to its former glory and like everyone in Killarney, I am delighted that it is now on the verge of opening, following a huge €7.1 million investment