Fáilte Ireland And Coillte Announce €8 Million Redevelopment Plan For Avondale House
Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority and Coillte, Ireland’s largest commercial forestry company have today announced plans to re-develop Avondale House and Forest Park into a state-of-the-art visitor attraction.
A total of €8 million will be invested in the re-development of Avondale House and Forest Park with Fáilte Ireland contributing more than €6.1million to the project.
Wicklow County Council is also supporting the redevelopment which will provide a major boost to Ireland’s tourism when it opens in 2021.
Avondale House, once the home of Charles Stewart Parnell, is now owned by Coillte and is considered the birthplace of Irish Forestry. The 500-acre estate was originally built for Samuel Hayes in the 1700’s who introduced exotic tree species into Ireland, right through to the state’s acquisition of Avondale in 1904, ultimately leading to Coillte’s formation in 1989.
Minister of State for Tourism Brendan Griffin TD said: “The exciting redevelopment of Avondale House and Forest Park, supported by significant Government funding, presents exciting opportunities for businesses and communities in Wicklow and across Ireland’s Ancient East to benefit from the additional visitors that will be drawn to this major new attraction. In terms of accommodation, food and transport facilities, I encourage communities and tourism enterprises across the region to be ready to take advantage when the redeveloped Avondale House and Forest Park opens in 2021.”
Paul Kelly, Chief Executive of Fáilte Ireland added: “The redevelopment of Avondale House and Forest Park is hugely significant from a tourism and economic perspective for Ireland’s Ancient East and for the country as a whole. Fáilte Ireland has provided more than €6.1million towards this redevelopment project which builds on our continued investment across Ireland’s Ancient East. We are confident that the redeveloped Avondale House and Forest Park will attract a sizeable number of overseas visitors and domestic tourists ensuring Wicklow and the entire region benefits. Fáilte Ireland is proud to partner with Coillte on developing this major attraction that will entice visitors to stay longer and explore further. The development of this new world class visitor experience provides a major opportunity for tourism businesses across Wicklow to leverage this significant investment.”
Andrew Doyle T.D., Minister for Forestry, stated: “As a local and as Minister with responsibility for Forestry, I am delighted to welcome this announcement for the re-development of Avondale House. Avondale House, which is often described as the, cradle of modern democracy and forestry in Ireland, will be brought to life with this development. Investment in a destination exploring the valuable legacy of Parnell and the great forestry resource of county Wicklow offers a unique experience for its visitors. Steeped in history and surrounded by the natural beauty of Wicklow, Avondale House has a special place in the heart of the people of Wicklow. Currently attracting approximately 30,000 visitors, Avondale has the potential to become one of the major tourist destinations, not only in Wicklow, but the entire Eastern Region. Last week was a significant week in Irish History, as we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Dáil, and today we are announcing the re-development of the birthplace and home of Charles Stewart Parnell, one of Irelands leading political leaders.”
Fergal Leamy, Chief Executive of Coillte, said: “We are excited to be embarking upon such an ambitious project that will place Avondale Forest Park as one of the country’s leading visitor destinations. Creating a unique space to socialise, enjoy and learn. We are committed to protecting the future of Ireland’s forestry, and supporting the next generation in understanding the important role trees play in contributing to our environment and national economy. This significant investment is only possible thanks to our continued commercial success. ‘A Place for Visionaries’ will showcase all that Irish forests have to offer, demonstrating some of the leading-edge science and technologies used in the forestry industry today. Visitors will be able to explore two main themes; ‘At Home with the Parnell’s’ which will celebrate the life and times of Charles Stewart Parnell at Avondale House and ‘The Evolution of Forestry’ which will take a retrospective look through the history of the forest park from the 1700’s to the present day and beyond. There will be a state-of-the-art visitor centre on site that will offer a café and restaurant, before leading to Coillte’s ‘Evolution of Forestry’ installation and a breath taking 460m lattice walkway providing 360-degree views of the canopy and Avonmore River valley.”
The detailed design stages commence soon with an expected opening date of the re-developed Avondale House and Forest Park in 2021. Until then the public can continue to explore the many kilometres of walking and cycling trails, orienteering courses and recreation areas available at Avondale House and Forest Park.