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Heritage sites set to reopen

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Dunluce Castle
Dunluce Castle
BT Coleraine

Further State Care heritage sites will commence a phased reopening to the public from 6 July.

The Department for Communities’ Historic Environment Division (HED) manages some 190 historic monuments in State Care.

At the end of May most outdoor State Care sites opened for access, along with car parks. From 6 July Dunluce Castle, Grey Abbey and Dundrum Castle will be added to the list of open sites. However, there may be restrictions in place at sites and the public are advised to check the www.communities-ni.gov.uk/articles/historic-places-visit website for the latest information.

In addition to this, HED will be conducting risk assessments that may allow other sites to open by the end of July 2020.

Making the announcement, Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “We want people to enjoy the history and beauty of our heritage sites, and the outdoors and fresh air. Not only is this positive for our mental health but it will also aid the local economy as we begin to emerge from the effects of Covid-19.

“However, we continue to live with this virus so I would appeal to visitors to enjoy these attractions responsibly, adhering to social distancing requirements and hygiene advice.

“At all sites, visitor numbers to sites will be controlled where necessary, card and contactless payment will be encouraged in preference to cash, and stations for hand sanitiser will be erected for the public to use. Please respect the safety of staff and others using the facilities.”

Under current Executive Covid-19 guidance some of HED’s sites such as Carrickfergus Castle and Scrabo Tower will remain closed to the public.

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