Enniskillen Castle New Build and Refurbishment
The Enniskillen Castle complex is situated beside the River Erne in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, which provides a scenic backdrop for this redevelopment project. Four buildings within the complex are being restored and refurbished, with the construction of a new state of the art visitor centre also taking place, as part of the Fermanagh Heritage Gateway Project.
Enniskillen Castle is uniquely placed to become the heritage gateway to the region, showcasing the history of the lakelands and signposting other important attractions in the area and will become the introduction and first port of call for visitors. Enniskillen Castle complex consists of a grouping of diverse buildings of various ages, arranged on the historic site which was established in the early fifteenth century.
Mark Knight, Project Architect at Kriterion Conservation Architects said: “We were appointed in April 2014 and the construction / refurbishment work started on site in March 2015 after receiving Planning Approval and Listed Building Consent. The main build has recently been completed with the exhibit fit out due to commence very soon. The fit-out contractor will be on site for about 6 weeks and the museum is planned to re-open to the public in the summer.”
Once completed, the project will enable Fermanagh County Museum to increase access to its collections of local and international significance, presenting the regions stories for the enjoyment of all.
Mark commented: “Areas in the Barrack Coach House, previously unused, have been refurbished to provide much needed gallery spaces. These additional spaces will expand the museum facilities to showcase their rich collections. Integration of the tourist information centre within the new visitor centre will also increase awareness to the public of the region’s history. ”
The main contractors on the project, QMAC Construction, commented that work on site is nearing completion, despite the live site being described as a “challenging one.”
“We had to split the construction site into two with an access road through the middle to allow access to the other live buildings on the site,” said Mark. “Conservation wise, we worked closely with NIEA when carrying out these construction works within this site containing listed buildings and a monument in state care. Due to the historic nature of the site, monitoring of any excavation on site was also extremely important. An archaeologist was on site to monitor, record and photograph any findings during excavations so it was challenging to keep the project moving forward within the construction programme.”
Mark commented: “We were delighted to be involved in sensitively transforming this significant heritage asset into a world-class visitor facility which will protect and enrich our built and cultural heritage. Conservation of the iconic buildings and integration of the new visitor centre will give new long-term sustainable uses to the Enniskillen Castle Museums and enhance the region’s rich heritage and tourism offering.”