Minister Malcolm Noonan Visits Coillte’s Donadea Forest Park to View Historic Castle Restoration
Wednesday, 29th November 2023- Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, yesterday met with Kildare County Council and Coillte staff at Donadea Forest Park in County Kildare to view the ongoing restoration works at the historic castle nestled within the popular forest park.
In partnership with Kildare County Council, Coillte was granted funding this year to continue restoration of the castle in Donadea forest park under the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s Community Monuments Fund (CMF). The CMF was established in 2020 to provide investment in Ireland’s archaeological heritage and to prioritise funding for the care, conservation, maintenance, protection and promotion of archaeological monuments. In total Coillte has received close to €300,000 in funding from the Department since 2020 for the conservation of Donadea Castle under the CMF and the Historic Structures Fund and Coillte has provided approximately €200,000 in matching funds.
The restoration works at Donadea Castle are currently underway to protect and preserve this historic structure for future generations to enjoy. Coillte has engaged Lotts Architecture to oversee these important works, which include the careful clearing of vegetation and organic debris, essential repairs to the external and internal sides of the tower’s west wall, structural refurbishments to window openings, and detailed restoration of crenellations and ledges at the former roof level.
The works will also see the upcycling of old, salvaged bricks from the castle’s second floor which will then be used to consolidate masonry in the tower structure, marrying preservation with sustainability. In addition to the castle restoration, Coillte has recently undertaken significant upgrades within the forest park itself. The recent enhancements include a revamped entrance, a new car park, modern toilet facilities and upgraded trails, all contributing to an enriched visitor experience and providing a modern and accessible recreational space for locals and visitors alike.
“I am delighted to see these important works getting underway here in Donadea forest park,” said Minister Malcolm Noonan. “The works here are a standout example of cooperation and collaboration to protect and preserve this iconic and historic structure and I am pleased my department through our Historic Structures and Community Monuments Funds has been able to support Coillte over the last number of years in its heritage ambition for the site.”
Ken Sweeney, Regional Manager with Coillte said, “I am immensely proud to see these works getting underway and wish to thank the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage and Kildare County Council for their support. The Castle is a much loved feature of the park and will bring visitors here for many years to come.”
Marian Higgins, Director of Services, Kildare County Council, said, “We are delighted to welcome Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD to Donadea Forest Park today. The funding received under the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s Community Monuments Fund to restore this beautiful historic castle in Donadea Forest Park will play a vital role in enticing tourists, making their experience here more enjoyable and in turn benefiting our local economies.”
Cathaoirleach of the Clane, Maynooth Municipal District, Councillor Tim Durkan said “This is a welcome development for Donadea Forest Park. I would like to thank the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Coillte for their support, like in any project, it is vital to work in partnership with each other to deliver results. Recreational amenities such as Donadea Forest Park are extremely important for our climate, our communities and for health and wellbeing.”
Coillte, Ireland’s semi-state forestry company, is responsible for managing 440,000 hectares of primarily forested lands. It is the nation’s largest forester and producer of certified wood, a natural, renewable and sustainable resource. Coillte is also the largest provider of outdoor recreation space in Ireland, it enables wind-energy on the estate, processes forestry by-products and undertakes nature rehabilitation projects of scale. Coillte delivers the multiple benefits of forestry, including forests for climate, for nature, for wood and for people. For further information visit www.coillte.ie.