Minister Moran welcomes Irish Sign Language Tours at OPW Heritage Sites

11 February 19

Kevin 'Boxer' Moran T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief has announced that the OPW will offer an extended programme of Irish Sign Language (ISL) interpreted tours at OPW heritage sites in 2019.  This follows on from similar, very successful programmes in previous years and extends the number of sites where these services are available.  This year will see the extension of the programme to include sites outside Dublin such as the Rock of Cashel and Charles Fort in Kinsale for the first time.

Announcing the programme, the Minister said, "I am delighted to extend this invitation to members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.  The OPW is entrusted with looking after wonderful heritage sites which I feel passionately that everyone should be able to enjoy.  I am pleased that this initiative will greatly improve access to these sites for members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.

The next ISL interpreted tour will take place in Dublin Castle on Sunday 17 February with free signed tours of the Castle available to members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.  The programme will continue in Charles Fort on 23 March with more tours planned for throughout the year.  Full details are available on the OPW and Heritage Ireland websites.

Minister Moran continued, "I have continued to champion accessibility to OPW heritage sites since I took office.  In an effort to share the rich cultural experience of our built heritage more broadly and to make it easier for people with particular challenges to come and visit, last year I introduced an initiative to admit people with disabilities and their carers for free to all paid admission sites."

Minister Moran concluded, "I am committed to continuing to work to improve accessibility where possible and welcome any engagement with stakeholder groups that can help us achieve this."

-ENDS-

Notes for Editors:

  • Irish Sign Language is the sign language of Ireland which is used primarily in the Republic by the Deaf / Hard of Hearing community. It is also used in Northern Ireland to some extent, alongside British Sign Language.  The 'Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill 2016' passed all stages in the Oireachtas on 14 December 2017, and was signed into law by the President on 24 December 2017.  The Bill ensures that public services delivered in Ireland are available through ISL in the first instance.
  • Irish Sign Language Tours will take place at the following OPW Sites in 2019:
    • Áras an Uachtaráin 19 January 12.30pm
    • Dublin Castle 17 February 3pm
    • Charles Fort 23 March 2pm
    • Kilmainham Gaol 27 April 3pm
    • Rock of Cashel 11 May 2pm
    • Rathfarnham Castle 8 June 2pm
    • Maynooth Castle 15 June 2pm
    • St. Audoen’s Church 20 July 2pm
    • Castletown House 7 September 11.30am
    • National Botanic Gardens 12 October 11.30am
    • Dublin Castle 1 December 3pm
  • Entrance & Tour is free of charge to Deaf /Hard of Hearing visitors but places are limited so participants are asked to book early by emailing info@heritageireland.ie
  • Approx. 250 people participated in 8 ISL tours in 2018.
  • The cost of this service is approx. €3,000 in 2019.
  • Approx.10,600 people participated in the Disabled entry scheme between its introduction on 1st May and the end December