Carlingford is a walled town famous for its landmark medieval buildings, of which the most dominant is the King Johns Castle, a national monument dating from the twelfth-century. The castle survives as a picturesque ruin on a prominent location overlooking the town, mountains and lough. Until relatively recently visitors could access the interior of the castle unsupervised, however, safety issues due to uneven ground and unguarded drops led to the castle being closed to the public. The OPW provided the preliminary design, which had received ministerial consent, with the aim of creating universal access and improved presentation and interpretation.
Using a ‘light touch’ a fully accessible route is created through the preserved ruins allowing visitors to enjoy a full understanding of the historic context. A series of carefully inserted elements, in corten and stainless steel, combined with polished concrete and pebble mosaic ramps, provide access to areas that were previously inaccessible, with links passing through rooms, passages along floating walkways behind battlements restoring magnificent views over the town, mountains and the lough. The new steel, concrete and stone elements were chosen as appropriate materials for the new additions to be contemporary, yet sensitive and clearly identifiable, preserving the castle's authentic character. The steel will weather over time creating a timeless addition that relates to the texture of the historical stone walls.
Using a ‘light touch’ a fully accessible route is created through the preserved ruins allowing visitors to enjoy a full understanding of the historic context