National heritage sites opened for weddings

Couples can marry at venues such as Ceide Fields and the Blaskets for €300 to €600

Minister of State for the OPW Brian Hayes said revenue raised through the ceremonies would fund other heritage projects. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Minister of State for the OPW Brian Hayes said revenue raised through the ceremonies would fund other heritage projects. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Sat, Mar 22, 2014, 01:00

Seven national heritage sites have been made available as venues for civil wedding ceremonies, the Government has announced.

Couples can new request to have their wedding held at The Casino at Marino, Dublin; Castletown House, Co Kildare; Barryscourt Castle, Co Cork; Desmond Hall, Co Limerick; Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny; the Blasket Island visitor centre, Co Kerry and the Ceide Fields visitor centre, Co Mayo.

Minister of State for the Office of Public Works Brian Hayes also expects a further nine heritage sites around the country to be available for civil ceremonies by the summer.

“It’s the first time that we’ve launched a scheme of this nature,” he said, adding that the OPW was keen for members of the public to propose other suitable heritage sites for ceremonies.

With some 30 per cent of marriages in the State taking place as civil ceremonies, as opposed to traditional church weddings, Mr Hayes said “there’s no reason why the State shouldn’t offer some of the brilliant heritage buildings as part of that”.

Couples can expect to pay between €300 and €600 for the use of the sites and Mr Hayes said money raised through civil ceremonies would finance other heritage projects.

“There’s a small amount of money to be made on this and I make no apologies in saying with the money we obtain from this we’re going to pump it back into the heritage service because our budgets have been slashed now so we’ve got to box clever, we’ve got to use properties we have to maximise the return for the State,” he said.

“I have an agreement from [Minister for Public Expenditure] Brendan Howlin that if we obtain proceeds from this…we can keep them within the OPW and I’ve given a commitment to put them into second tier heritage sites.”