King castle

Limerick Council officially takes control of King John’s Castle

King John’s Castle in Limerick, which dates back to 1210 and is one of the best preserved Norman castles in Europe, has been officially taken over by the City and Limerick County Council who will manage the tourist attraction from ‘today.

The historic castle, which is a popular tourist spot in the city, attracting over 100,000 visitors in pre-pandemic times, was under the management and ownership of the Shannon Heritage company, part of the Shannon Group which runs the Shannon Airport, for 30 years. .

Shannon Heritage also owns Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Knappogue Castle and the former 16th Craggaunowen Castle in County Clare, and Dunguaire Castle in County Galway.

However, a decision has been taken to begin the transfer of heritage assets from Shannon Heritage to local councils, to allow the Shannon Group to continue to focus on recovering the airport, which has been devastated by the pandemic and lost nearly 80% of his business.

All business operations and staff at King John’s Castle have now been transferred from Shannon Heritage to Discover Limerick DAC, which was set up specifically by Limerick Council to operate and develop key tourist attractions which will strengthen the city as a tourist destination and attract more visitors. .

The 14 employees who worked there will be transferred to the new company without changing their jobs. The castle will also now be open seven days a week.

The castle was built in 1210 by King John on the city’s Kings Island, located in the heart of the medieval part of the city, just beside the River Shannon. It was the scene of numerous sieges in 1642 and 1650 and during the famous siege of Limerick in 1691.

The famous Treaty Stone on which Patrick Sarsfield signed the Treaty of Limerick in 1691 is situated just opposite the castle and marks a major tourist walk and loop at Kings Island.

Although badly damaged by the war in 1642, its wall towers and fortifications remain largely intact, and underground tunnels built in 1642 have been discovered during archaeological excavations in recent times and today form a part important part of its tourist and tourist attraction.

The castle also underwent a €5 million upgrade in 2013, undertaken by the same company that developed the Titanic site in Belfast, and now boasts a vast interactive display bringing its 800-year-old castle to life. history through the centuries.

King John’s Castle

Marking today’s transfer, Limerick Mayor Daniel Butler said: “It’s a wonderful start to a new era for King John’s Castle.

“I would like to thank Shannon Heritage for their stewardship of King John’s Castle over the past 30 years.

“With the castle back in control of Limerick, we are the masters of our own destiny. We have a wonderful attraction here that we must all support and showcase in every way we can.

“And I encourage everyone in Limerick to come and visit King John’s Castle over the next few months. The great attractions on our doorstep are for locals and tourists alike.”

Limerick City CEO Dr Pat Daly, who acknowledged tourism will play a vital role in the city’s recovery from the Covid pandemic, said: “As the country emerges from a two-year pandemic, the recovery of tourism is a vital objective for the city and county of Limerick. Council and the wider tourism industry in Limerick.

“The transition of Castle from Shannon Heritage to Discover Limerick DAC presents an exciting opportunity for Limerick to grow and develop the tourism industry in the city and county.”

Shannon Group CEO Mary Considine thanked the board for the smooth transfer of Shannon Group assets to the board, which ensured a smooth transition for staff at King John’s Castle.

“The transfer will allow Shannon Group to focus its energies on restoring passenger numbers to Shannon Airport, thereby supporting local economic activity and attracting tourists.

“Shannon Group will maintain an important relationship with the tourist attraction by rebuilding vital air services in Shannon to support the return of much needed international tourists to Ireland.”

However, King John’s Castle is the only Shannon Heritage tourist asset that has been transferred to its local council.

The Department for Transport is still discussing with the Shannon Group the proposed transfer of Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Craggaunowen and Knappogue Castles to Clare County Council, and with Galway Council regarding the future ownership and management of the Dunguaire Castle.