The Office of Public Works has a gradual re-opening strategy in response to the Government roadmap, with certain heritage sites to reserve special spaces for vulnerable people, writes Clodagh Dooley
One thing I’ve missed throughout the pandemic, is stepping out of my Dublin-based office at lunchtime, and going for a stroll through the beautiful Iveagh Gardens.
So it was with a glad heart I heard that from today, Monday 18th May, the OPW is partially re-opening a number of parkland locations and other heritage sites with open spaces, one of which is Iveagh Gardens. It is for local access only – but a step in the right direction!
A key part of their strategy is to ensure that sites can only reopen where it is possible to do so in accordance with public health guidance and, in particular, with the Return to Work Safely Protocol published by the Government. In addition, the OPW is emphasising the need to address the needs of vulnerable groups. It has made special provision at certain sites for people who have been cocooning.
Some of the sites where opening or partial opening will be permitted during the first phase include the Fota Arboretum in Cork and the garden grounds of Dublin Castle.
Social distancing will apply and visitors will be strongly encouraged to observe all the regulations. When they use these facilities, they must remain in small groups and within their own households. Visitors are also reminded of the 5km distance limit.
The sites where facilities for cocooners are immediately available are as follows:
|Site Location||Reserved Area||Reserved Times|
|Emo Court, Co. Laois||Grounds||10am to 1pm|
|Fota Arboretum, Co. Cork||Pleasure Garden & Walled Garden||10am to 1pm|
|Irish National War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, Dublin||Rose Garden.||10am to 1pm|
|Iveagh Gardens, Dublin||Full Garden||10am to 1pm|
|Kilkenny Castle, Co. Kilkenny||Rose Garden||10am to 1pm|
|Nenagh Castle, Co. Tipperary||Grounds||10am to 1pm|
|Portumna Castle, Co. Galway||Walled Garden||10am to 1pm|
|Phoenix Park, Dublin||Visitor Centre Walled Garden||10am to 1pm|
|Roscrea Heritage, Co. Tipperary||Grounds & Walled garden||10am to 1pm|
Further cocooner-reserved spaces may be announced at a later date.
OPW also announced that there are certain tourism site locations where the position cannot be mitigated sufficiently and these locations must therefore remain closed in the short-term and possibly for the remainder of the 2020 visitor season. The position in relation to these sites will be kept under review.
Let us know in the comments what your favourite heritage site is and why.
For a detailed breakdown of the re-opening Roadmap (Phases 1-5) along with a list of Heritage Sites that will remain closed until further notice, visit www.gov.ie/en/news/8b2a53-opw-announces-gradual-reopening-strategy-for-tourism-heritage-sites/
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