Barryscourt Castle to remain closed for another 18 months
In disappointing news for history buffs, one of East Cork’s most recognisable heritage sites is showing no sign of reopening any time soon.
The historic Barryscourt Castle, East Cork is unlikely to reopen to the public for at least another 18 months as work continues to undertake essential repairs caused by excessive damp.
Barryscourt Castle in Carrigtwohill, which dates back to the 16th century, was closed nearly five years ago by the Office of Public Works (OPW).
At the time, “structural” issues were identified as the cause of the closure. In 2018, two years after the castle had first closed, there were hopes it would reopen by the end of that year. However, two years on, there is no sign of that happening.
The delay in reopening it came to light after local Green Party councillor Alan O’Connor asked his party TD Malcolm Noonan to question Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, about progress on the project.
The castle was discovered in recent years to have significant problems with damp penetration which caused the internal electricity system to become inherently unsafe.
The visitor experience at the castle had to be closed on an emergency basis while rehabilitation works were planned and a works project put in place.
The project, which has been ongoing since, involves progressively drying the entire castle structure and repointing all of the external walls to prevent future water ingress.
Mr McGrath said this work has proved to be technically very challenging and has taken longer than was originally expected due to the discovery of additional works which needed to be performed last year to chimneys and roofs.
“It is planned, once the external work is complete, that the building will be rewired and a new heating system installed, clearing the way for a reopening to the public. Currently, it is expected that there will be two further seasons’ work externally before the project is substantially completed, likely at the end of next year,” Mr McGrath said.
Mr O’Connor said it was a shame it had to be closed for so long as it was a great attraction for the area.
“However, it seems as though there was a great deal to do, and that the works will be thorough. It’ll be worth the wait when it finally reopens,” he said.
Councillors in East Cork have fought to keep the topic of reopening the castle on the agenda.
Carrigtwohill-based councillor Anthony Barry said, in 2018, that the castle was a “great tourism draw” and its absence was hurting tourism in the area.
In 2017, Mr Barry and others described the closure as “regrettable”.
Barryscourt Castle, Carrigtwohill, Cork. It has been closed for nearly 5 years.