Fáilte Ireland and commercial forestry business Coillte have commenced a €16 million redevelopment of Co. Wicklow's Avondale House and Forest Park, which Fáilte Ireland said will provide a world-class visitor destination in Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow.
Fáilte Ireland stated on its website, "The announcement was made by minister for tourism, culture, arts, Gaeltacht, sport and media Catherine Martin TD and minister of state for land use and biodiversity Pippa Hackett TD at Coillte's Avondale House and Forest Park, Rathdrum, County Wicklow.
"This €16 million project, a partnership between Coillte, Fáilte Ireland and EAK (erlebnis akademie AG) will transform Avondale into a unique family attraction and a key new destination in Ireland’s Ancient East. The newly redeveloped Coillte Avondale House and Forest Park is expected to open to the public in Spring 2022.
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"Coillte Avondale House and Forest Park main attractions include:
- A new 38 metre (c12 storey high) wooden viewing tower offering visitors a spectacular 360-degree views of Coillte's Avondale Forest Park and the surrounding countryside. It includes an innovative slide that will delight adults and children alike.
- A unique 1.2km Tree Top walkway with breath-taking views of Avondale's diverse forest.
- (Both of the above structures will showcase the use of high quality Irish wood for large scale construction projects).
- The park will contain a Visitor Orientation Hub with a new café and renovated courtyard buildings.
- The walled garden will be rejuvenated for garden lovers to enjoy."
In a statement published on Fáilte Ireland's website, Martin said, "It is a momentous day as works start on this wonderful project. The historic Avondale House and Forest Park is already a much-loved visitor destination and this redevelopment will make it an even stronger attraction in Ireland’s Ancient East."
Fáilte Ireland continued on its website, "Visitors will be able to explore interactively:
- 'At Home with the Parnells' celebrating the life and times of Charles Stewart Parnell, and his two sisters Anna and Fanny Parnell, co-founders of the Ladies Land League in 1881.
- 'The Evolution of Forestry' will look through the history of the forest park from the 1700s to the present day and beyond. Visitors will learn about the growing importance of wood as consumer preferences rapidly turn towards selecting renewable and sustainable construction materials."
In a statement published on Fáilte Ireland's website, Hackett said, "I'm truly delighted to celebrate the launch of this exciting new project. Avondale House and Forest Park is known as the birthplace of Irish forestry, and the ambitious forest biodiversity plans will make Avondale a fitting destination to celebrate the great past, and even more exciting future for Irish trees and forests."
Forest Management Plan
Fáilte Ireland added on its website, "Coillte is also progressing a forest management plan to rejuvenate the original forest plots, now over 100 years old and enhance the overall biodiversity of the forest park."
Fáilte Ireland CEO Statement
In a statement published on Fáilte Ireland's website, Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly said, "Fáilte Ireland is pleased to partner with Coillte on the exciting redevelopment works at Avondale House and Forest Park. The project will create a new and vibrant destination for families and overseas visitors when it opens next year which will benefit the local economy and local employment."
Fáilte Ireland also said, "While parts of the park will be restricted to visitors during construction works, the forest park will remain open."
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