Tourism planners have been appointed by Louth County Council to research and investigate potential tourism opportunities for Ardee Castle, in a boost to the future prospects of the 15th century medieval townhouse.
The local authority have appointed Tourism Development International to undertake what they call ‘a scoping assessment based on market research which will identify tourism opportunities for the use of Ardee Castle that can deliver sustainable, motivating visitor experiences at the Castle.
As part of that proposal, a public workshop will be held in Brian Muldoon’s on Thursday January 30 at 7.30pm in which locals will be invited to have their say on the future of Ardee Castle, often referred to as the ‘jewel in Ardee’s crown’.
The purpose of the meeting will be seek views, opinions and feedback of local people on how best the castle can be developed as enhanced not simply as an attraction for visiting tourists but as a community as a whole.
Tourism Development International say that market research is underway to examine the optimum approach towards the restoration of Ardee Castle as an outstanding tourism attraction.
Ardee Municipal District cathaoirleach Dolores Minogue welcomed the news today. Speaking to LouthNow.ie she said, “I am delighted that we are moving on this much loved castle. It is the heart of Ardee and many people and indeed the business people of our town will be delighted to have an opportunity to have a say on what should happen going forward.
“This castle has the potential to boost much needed tourism and that will have a positive knock affect for our town,” she said. Fine Gael TD and general election candidate Fergus O’Dowd called the appointment “great news.”
“Cllr Minogue and I have over the last number of years prioritised the reopening of the Ardee Castle as one of our key objectives in Ardee Town,” he told LouthNow.ie.
“€2.1m in government funding was finally secured last year which will go towards the complete regeneration of the castle. This will create huge opportunities for local businesses and will no doubt be a significant tourist attraction.
“Involving the community in the process is vitally important, we want the public to write the next chapter of the castle’s wonderful history.”
Independent councillor Jim Tenanty also welcomed the news, telling LouthNow.ie this was a great opportunity for locals to put their ideas forward.
“This is what I have been pushing for – to give the people of the town their say.”
Ardee Castle’s doors have been closed for years and many false dawns on development and a reopening have come and gone.
In terms of the development itself, initial detail design works have begun and are continuing. In the face of growing calls about the community in Ardee and local representatives, Louth County Council said last year that the fact that Ardee Castle was – and remains – listed [among the local authority’s corporate infrastructure projects] indicates that it is something Louth County Council are intent on concluding.