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Galway County Council to take over Dunguaire Castle

Galway County Council is in advanced talks to take over the ownership of Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara – with current owners Shannon Heritage divesting itself of some of its assets.

Earlier in the summer, Clare County Council reached agreement to accept the transfer of a number of tourism assets including Bunratty Castle and Knappogue Castle.

Now it is the turn of Galway County Council which is currently in discussions to acquire Dunguaire.

However, local Cllr Joe Byrne (FG) has expressed concern from a staffing perspective with the Castle, which dates back to 1520, is due to close at the end of September.

Staff working at the Castle have been informed that all of the banquet bookings from October 1 to 21 have been transferred to Bunratty and he is asking that this decision is reversed.

“I am concerned that Galway County Council do not have a Tourism Officer at present, and I will be demanding that a business plan is drawn up to further develop this important asset for the area,” he said.

“Clare County Council has the experience of managing the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, but my fear is that Galway County Council may not match that,” added Cllr Byrne.

Chief Executive Liam Conneally confirmed that, subject to the agreement of elected representatives, the Castle would be taken on by Galway County Council.

“Clare County Council, which has already been through this process, is providing us with information and learnings, which should expedite the due diligence process on Dunguaire Castle,” Mr Conneally added.

He and Director of Services Alan Farrell visited Dunguaire Castle late last week to inspect the property and to also met with staff.

They confirmed to staff that Galway County Council is currently in a property transfer process.

They also confirmed that, subject to positive advancement in this process, positive engagement with the various stakeholders at local and national levels would take place.

“It is intended that Galway County Council would take ownership of the Castle and continue to operate it as an important Galway tourist attraction and destination,” Mr Conneally confirmed.

While Cllr Byrne has concerns regarding the future of the staff there, he accepted that it is “a wonderful opportunity” to own, manage and maintain one of the finest examples of a built heritage in the region.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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