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Call to light up Nenagh Castle

Thursday, 14th March, 2019 9:32am
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Call to light up Nenagh Castle

Nenagh Castle illuminated in green light for St Patrick's Day. Photograph: Tom Doherty

Call to light up Nenagh Castle

Nenagh Castle illuminated in green light for St Patrick's Day. Photograph: Tom Doherty

A local man is calling for lights to be shone on Nenagh Castle at night in order to bathe the town's iconic structure in different colours to highlight various causes.

John Clarke is the parent of a boy with autism. Some years ago when trying to raise awareness about autism locally, he requested the possibility of lighting Nenagh Castle in blue on April 2nd (World Autism Awareness Day). He pointed out that many examples of this can be seen on iconic buildings worldwide and Nenagh Castle has been lit green for St Patrick's Day.

“My request was met with multiple reasons for refusal,” Mr Clarke said. These included cost, closure of the Castle Field based on health & safety, and permission from the OPW.

“In the passage of time since then I have taken the opportunity to talk generally to people about their opinion on the possibility of lighting up Nenagh Castle on a more frequent, or even permanent, basis. Nenagh Castle is one of several iconic buildings that make our town interesting. It attracts visitors and its image and existence is used extensively to promote tourism for the region.

“It's part of all our past and bears a reminder to the endurance of time and a testimony to the people that built it, an endurance many families face daily in the silence of their own home, caring for a child with autism.

“Let's celebrate our wonderful landmark,” Mr Clarke said. He said another objection at the time of his initial request to light the castle blue for autism was that other charities would look to have it lit in their colours, and “before long it would be lit a different colour every night of the week.

“It was this comment got me thinking about the endless possibilities,” he said, citing examples of St Valentine's Day (red), St Patrick's Day (green), Daffodil Day (yellow), Breast Cancer (pink), Halloween (orange), as well as blue for autism.

“My thoughts would be: Why not light it up different colours and as many colours as often as we can?” Mr Clarke asked.

“I realise that from a funding perspective, some projects get priority for various reasons but since there is an annual cost for March 17th to light it up green, why not invest in permanent lighting that would only require colour gels to change for events associated with colour?

“I am writing to each elected representative in my area and am sharing with others also. We have a golden opportunity (pardon the pun) to make this happen as the castle will be celebrating 800 years in 2020. I feel this could be a very worthwhile project.”

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