Ireland’s Office of Public Works is recruiting a design team to remasterplan Dublin Castle and create a £2.6 million visitor attraction
The winner of the estimated £175,000 contract will draw up a ‘visitor-driven’ masterplan for the historic government complex, which is currently a tourist attraction, ceremonial venue and conference centre. Conceptual plans for a new ‘Medieval Tower’ museum inside the 13th-century record tower will also be required.
The project, backed by Fáilte Ireland and planned to complete in 2019, responds to a steady growth in annual visitor numbers in recent years which is expected to reach 500,000 by the end of 2020.
The competition brief says: ‘Latent potential on such a large, historically important and fascinating campus clearly exists to create an improved and integrated visitor experience. As such, a masterplan is required that will identify this potential and set out the long-term vision for the site, with particular regard to its tourist offering.
‘This plan should take into account its government obligations, its business offering and potential, and its current offering to tourists and visitors. It should make provision, in particular, for an increase in visitor numbers as a result of future strategic investments across the site.’
Dublin Castle was first built by King John of England in the early 13th century following the Norman invasion of Ireland. The landmark complex south of the River Liffy was the headquarters of the English, and then later British government, of Ireland.
In 1922 following the Anglo-Irish Treaty it was handed over to Ireland’s Provisional Government led by Michael Collins and thereafter it has been the ceremonial venue for presidential inaugurations. The majority of the complex was reconstructed in the 18th century and only the Record Tower survives from the earlier medieval citadel.
Today the complex is open to the public with key visitor attractions including the State Apartments, Chapel Royal, Viking Excavation and Chester Beatty Library.
The latest project aims to upgrade long-term management and transform the complex into ‘Ireland’s premier [collection of] cultural and historic attractions and state buildings.’
The appointed team will review circulation, wayfinding and visitor routes while also rethinking the castle’s cafés, shops, ticket desks, security checks, cloakroom facilities, and catering and banquet facilities.
A new Medieval Tower visitor experience, intended to ‘function as a destination in its own right’, will also be created featuring outdoor viewing platforms and displays.
Interested bidders must hold employer’s liability insurance of £13 million, public liability cover of £6.5 million and professional indemnity insurance worth £1 million.
Applications will be evaluated on relevant experience, methodology and concept, team composition and overall cost.
The deadline for applications is 1pm, 20 October.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
Office of Public Works
Jonathan Swift Street