Re-Opening of Outdoor Spaces at State Care Monuments.
The majority of State Care Monuments will reopen to the public from Thursday, the Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA has announced.
The Department for Communities Historic Environment Division (HED) manages some 190 historic monuments in State Care.
From Thursday 28 May most of the sites – excluding those which have significant amounts of indoor space or which present particular safety or public health challenges – will be open for access, along with car parks.
However, facilities including toilets, visitors’ centres, cafes and shops will remain closed in line with public health requirements.
Making the announcement, Minister Hargey said: “From May 28 members of the public will once again be able to enjoy the beauty and history of dozens of outdoor spaces managed by my department’s Historic Environment Division.
“I recognise how hard the restrictions have been and the impact that has had on people’s physical and mental health. However, it would be remiss of me not to remind the public that we have not yet emerged from the COVID-19 crisis.
“It is vital that people continue to socially distance, wash their hands and not become complacent as restrictions begin to be lift. Please enjoy these beautiful spaces, take care of them and dispose of your litter carefully or take it home with you.”
Historic outdoor spaces that people will be able to enjoy from next week include Giant’s Ring in south Belfast, Inch Abbey near Downpatrick, Nendrum Monastic Site on Strangford Lough, Tully Castle in Fermanagh, and Kinbane Castle near Ballycastle.
Sites which will remain closed to the public for the time being include Carrickfergus Castle, Dunluce Castle, Devenish Island, Scrabo Tower, Dundrum Castle and Grey Abbey.
Following the publication of the “Coronavirus: an Executive Guide to Decision Making” document on 12 May, the Department has been liaising with other bodies who operate similar sites to agree an approach to the re-opening of outdoor spaces. Discussions have included representatives from Councils, National Trust and Ulster Wildlife, as well as Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).