110,000 people visit Round Tower centre in first year

By Maurice Garvey

ANYONE thinking of getting married at the Round Tower Visitor Centre in Clondalkin, need only ask.

Nobody has yet to tie the knot at the historic site, and whilst a lot of bride and grooms tend to prefer a traditional setting, it is likely many residents are unaware of the centre’s availability for getting hitched.

Round Tower Visitors Centre Clondalkin credit Ben Ryan Photography

110,000 people have visited the Round Tower Visitor Centre

It is one of numerous events that the centre operators hope to make available for the general public to hire outside of normal opening hours.

Since it opened on July 3, 2017, over 110,000 people have visited the Round Tower Visitor Centre, generating in excess of €1 million in revenue.

The €4 million South Dublin County Council project, which is managed by the Happy Pear, and features an interpretive centre, restaurant and gardens, has been well received in Clondalkin and by visitors to the location.

Round Tower general site manager Mark Matanes, said they just need to be asked about availability for a wedding, in order for an inspection to be carried out, and they are good to go.

“The centre meets all pre-qualifications. We have an alcohol licence to sell wine and beer, as long as food is being sold,” said Mark.

“The area for hire outside of normal hours is just for the café space and garden space, as long as we are respectful of the noise for adjoining residents. It is not for the exhibition area. We have done about a dozen events so far, including a wedding anniversary.”

Thyes Kavanagh, Chair of Clondalkin Chamber of Commerce, and a member of Clondalkin Heritage Group, who were heavily involved in the planning process for the visitor centre, would not be in favour of the venue becoming party central.

Needs to be used a lot more

“It is not set up for that (hosting parties), neighbours have bought into it as a historical venue. It is most definitely being used. The difference it has made to Clondalkin is phenomenal. My feeling is that it needs to be used a lot more.”

Kavanagh cited the use of Farmleigh, Glasnevin Cemetery and Áras Chrónáin as sites that strike the right balance.

He continued: “We’ve trained up 44 tour guides to cater for all groups, schools, adults. There has been a huge amount of tours and that alone is great.

“Long-term, we would be looking for more signage. I have seen German and French tourists walk right past, unsure if it is a coffee shop or what.”

SDCC said space available for hire outside of normal opening hours can include private/corporate functions, meetings, parties and events.

Hire of the café space is the responsibility of the centre with queries sent by email to info [at] theroundtower [dot] ie

Matanes said the visitor centre will be hosting a family fun day at the venue on July 1 to coincide with the Clondalkin Festival.

“We hope to get the free yoga back up on June 17 for about 20 dates on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m also looking at getting a band in on Fridays over the Summer from 6pm to 9.30pm.”

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