THE country's second most notorious surface car park is set to disappear, according to plans being prepared by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

The OPW now plans to review all parking arrangements at Dublin Castle. It is currently putting finishing touches to the Leinster Lawn project, which has seen parking spaces for politicians permanently ended on the front garden of Leinster House. Haphazard parking arrangements have also been a blight on the castle complex.

A spokesman said: "There is currently an exhibition, 'Angels of Hope', taking place in the upper yard. For the duration of this exhibition no parking will be permitted in the upper yard. Parking in Dublin Castle is constantly under review and the management of the castle will be reviewing all parking arrangements in early 2010. As part of this review it is hoped that parking in the upper yard will cease permanently."

Sources in the OPW also said other maintenance and parking issues are set to be tackled as part of a new management plan to coincide with two major events at the castle.

The complex will be the setting for the next presidential inauguration in 2011 and also for Ireland's hosting of the EU presidency in 2013.

Parking in the lower yard of the complex may also be eradicated and the OPW is also hoping to create clearer entrance routes for tourists and other visitors.

Other plans include the renovation of the Record Tower as a museum on the castle's history and the opening of the roof level to allow panoramic views of Dublin.

It is also understood that the OPW plans include reopening of the Chapel Royal along with other refurbishment works.

A source said: "Obviously, it is not the time to be spending millions of euro on a project like this but a small amount of investment could make an enormous difference. Dublin Castle should be one of the premier visitor locations in the city but it has remained somewhat walled off through no fault of its own."