The Office of Public Works are allowing all children under 12 to get free entry to some of Donegal's most popular historic places this summer.
Donegal Castle, Glebe House and Gallery and Newmills Corn and Flax Mills are all opening their doors to young visitors for free.
UPDATE: Glenveagh National Park has been removed from the list of sites since this article was published on June 29th.
The three OPW Heritage Sites in Donegal are among an expansive list of sites across Ireland that will give children under 12 an opportunity to visit for free with their families during the holiday period.
This initiative will commence on Saturday the 1st of July. See the full list across Ireland’s 70 OPW sites here: http://www.opw.ie/en/media/opw-heritage-sites-free-under-12s-june-29-2017.pdf
Currently, the average charge for children at most of the paying OPW sites is €3.00 per head. Older children between the ages of 12 and 17 and students will still be charged at this rate during the summer.
Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran T.D. announced the initiative yesterday and highlighted the many educational experiences children can have through the scheme:
“I have set out to do this as one of my first acts as Minister for the OPW because I think there is a huge opportunity here to encourage our children to experience some of the best cultural and heritage sites in the country,” the Minister said.
“We have some wonderful places to visit like Clonmacnoise, Kilkenny Castle, Newgrange and the Rock of Cashel and I want every child to have an opportunity to visit them with their families during the summer holidays and up to the end of the year.”
OPW already offers free entry for children under 6 years of age and the Minister said he was anxious to reinforce the message that a visit to a Heritage site can be a great family day out for all ages: “I’d like to spread the message to families that wouldn’t normally think of coming to a heritage site and encourage them to make a visit.
“Admission fees at OPW sites are very reasonable and as the under 12’s are now to go free it will make for a very attractive and reasonably-priced day out for the whole family.”
The OPW offers free access to all school-going children under their Free Schools Visits programme and about 80,000 children availed of this during 2016.
This Programme is intended to support the educational curriculum and children can, with their teachers, engage with many relevant aspects of their learning including art, history and social science at these historic & heritage locations throughout the country.
“We are already very active in the OPW in terms of facilitating children through the Free Schools Visits programme” said the Minister “and I want to extend that positive approach throughout the summer holiday period and beyond so that kids will learn to enjoy coming to these sites and see them as fun places to visit.”