Popular north coast visitor attraction Kinbane Castle to be closed to public for up to two years

Kinbane Castle

A POPULAR visitor attraction on the north coast is to close for up two years.

The Department for Communities has announced that two State Care Monuments – including Kinbane Castle near Ballycastle and Church Island near Bellaghy on Lough Beg – will be shut to the public to enable essential conservation works over the next 18-24 months.

Measures also will be put in place at a further three sites – Dundrum Castle, Grey Abbey and Devenish Monastic Site – until conservation works can be completed.

The department said the works are primarily concerned with safeguarding the historic fabric of the sites and ensuring they continue to be safe places to visit and enjoy.

There will be no public access to Kinbane Castle or Church Island during works, whilst public access will continue to be facilitated at Grey Abbey and Dundrum Castle with some areas fenced off.

Additional signage will be put in place at Devenish Monastic Site and some areas may in due course be required to be fenced off.

The conservation requirements have been identified through condition surveys and site assessments, which are part of the routine management of the historic structures and visitor safety at the sites.

These are supported by specialist surveys and recommendations, and works will be undertaken by conservation specialists.

Iain Greenway, Director of Historic Environment Division, said: “The works planned are in response to the conservation needs of the sites, and are required in order that they can continue to be safe places for the public to visit and enjoy.

“It will require the partial or complete closure of the sites, as the works progress, so that the works can be carried out safely for staff, contractors and the wider public.

“These works are part of the ongoing activity to conserve and protect the 190 historic monuments in State Care that are managed by the Department for Communities. It is likely that the full or partial closures will be in place for the next 18-24 months, until the work is completed.

“These historic monuments are essential parts of our landscape. They are often constant features in our changing world, familiar landmarks and places that are cherished locally.

“These monuments also form a key part of our wider economy, especially in relation to tourism.

“During lock-down many sites took on additional importance as places where people could visit, get outdoors and exercise.

“However, in order for these sites to continue to be safe places for the public to visit, they require regular and ongoing maintenance to ensure they are preserved for now and future generations.”

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