SWORDS Castle was officially opened to the public on Wednesday, July 1 by Mayor of Fingal David O’Connor (Ind), who cut the ribbon at the ceremony.
Regular daily tours of the castle are now being provided by Fingal Tourism, as Fingal County Council’s conservation of the castle has reached a phase when sufficient buildings are restored and ready to be opened to the public.
A summer of activity is planned for the landmark when the 12th century castle will once again become the centre of Swords.
The Swords Festival takes place there July 17–19, and among its attractions will be the Swords Archaeofest on Saturday, July 18.
Younger visitors will get the chance to be archaeologists for the day, make their own shields, watch how medieval pottery and bronze antiquities were made and get to handle artefacts with the staff of the National Museum of Ireland.
Later in August, a photographic exhibition entitled Swords Castle – My Castle will run from August 22. This exhibition will feature a photographic record of Swords Castle through the years.
In addition, Swords Castle Digging History, a public archaeological dig, will take place from August 22 to September 11.
Cllr O’Connor said: “It is my pleasure to give the castle back to the public by opening the gates and inviting in all who are fascinated by our past, and all who wish to visit this monument that we have carefully preserved and restored for their enjoyment.”
Paul Reid, chief executive of Fingal County Council, said the opening of Swords Castle is a huge development for Swords not only in terms of a local amenity for the people of the town, but also the opportunity to develop the tourism potential that the site offers.
Cllr Anne Devitt (Ind) said that she is “over the moon” that the castle has been opened and described it as “a little gem sitting in the centre of Swords”.
She added: “It’s part of our heritage, part of what Swords is, and we will love it the same way as Limerick loves St John’s Castle, and Trim love their castle.
“It defines Swords, I think. This is just the start of it, we’ve seen the plans to put in the cultural quarter, to put in complimentary commercial units in North Street.
“To my mind, it’s a sign that it’s the beginning of a new time for Swords,” she said.
Swords Castle, the junction at Main Street and the surrounding town’s park will become the cultural quarter of the town, and the castle will now be open daily from 10am to 6pm.
Tours will be provided courtesy of Fingal Tourism, which can be contacted by email at email@example.com, or by telephoning 01 840 0891 or 01 890 5144.