CLONDALKIN’S €3.5 million Round Tower heritage centre will open to the public from Monday, July 3.
Invited guests will next week get a sneak peek at the impressive facilities, which include a visitor centre, monastic garden, cafe and craft shop, ahead of its full opening.
A spokesperson for The Happy Pear – which will run the centre – told The Gazette: “We will have ‘invite only’ community events next Thursday, Friday and Saturday for local groups, residents, businesses and councillors.
“All things going to plan we will open for trading on July 3. Fingers crossed we’re still on track.”
Volunteer tour guides will operate from the centre and provide guided walks of Clondalkin’s heritage trail.
Meanwhile, plans are afoot, subject to approval, to have the Seventh Century tower open to visitors during the Clondalkin Festival which runs from 7-9 July.
Festival organiser Thyes Kavanagh told The Gazette: “We’ve done this before but the tower is a national monument and there are four bodies which need to give their permission.
“It would be great to have it open for the duration of the festival, so watch this space.”
The three-day community event has this year secured Google as its main sponsor, and the line-up of free entertainment includes carnival rides, magicians, stilt walkers and other street performers, face painting and live music.
The eagerly-awaited visitor centre project includes the refurbishment of the nineteenth century Mill Cottages at Millview Terrace on Tower Road.
Its completion will transform the heart of the village – and comes 13 years and one week after 800 people took to the streets in 2004 to protest at plans to build flats on part of the site.
The centre will feature interactive displays and rotating exhibitions reflecting the town’s rich history progressing from an early monastic settlement to a Viking stronghold ransacked by Brian Boru’s troops in 1014, through the paper mills era and the commercial transport role of the canal.