Following an investment of almost €3 million from Fáilte Ireland, the Department of Rural and Community Development, and Sligo County Council, the National Surf Centre in Strandhill Co. Sligo was officially opened on Thursday 29 June.
Opened By Ministers
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD and Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD officially opened the National Surf Centre, in the company of Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Councillor Gerard Mullaney.
World-Class Surfing Destination
It is anticipated that the opening of Ireland's National Surf Centre along the Wild Atlantic Way will see Strandhill, Co. Sligo, emerge as a world-class surfing destination.
This visitor experience, which has been developed by Fáilte Ireland, the Department of Rural and Community Development and Sligo County Council, is Ireland's first purpose-built surfing facility and will see Strandhill emerge as a world-class surfing destination. The project received an investment of almost €3 million and aims to attract over 40,000 visitors per year by 2028, rising to over 50,000 visitors annually by 2033.
Speaking at the official opening of the National Surf Centre, Strandhill, Minister Martin said, "I am pleased to officially open Ireland’s flagship National Surf Centre today. The investment of €1.3 million by Fáilte Ireland in the National Surf Centre will open Strandhill and the surrounding areas to a significant number of new visitors, who want to experience the exceptional surfing culture that this area is known for. Fáilte Ireland anticipates the visitors attracted to the National Surf Centre, Strandhill will generate revenue exceeding €34 million in the Sligo region by 2033, creating new economic opportunities for local communities and indirectly supporting 21 jobs annually. The National Surf Centre, Strandhill creates a fantastic reason for visitors from at home and abroad to come to Sligo, participate in outdoor activities and spend longer in the region."
Minister Humphreys said, "I am delighted to visit Strandhill for what is a landmark occasion for Sligo and the entire north-west region. This new state-of-the-art National Surf Centre is going to do so much in terms of attracting visitors, supporting adventure tourism and providing a boost to the local economy. I’m pleased that my department was able to support the surf centre with an investment of over €1.1 million under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. This fund is having a transformational impact on towns and villages right across rural Ireland. The project that we are officially opening today is also further evidence of the truly positive difference that our five year rural development policy, ‘Our Rural Future’, is having in our communities. This fantastic surf centre will be a key new visitor experience in the region and solidify Sligo's reputation as a must-visit outdoor adventure destination along the Wild Atlantic Way."
Orla Carroll, director of product development at Fáilte Ireland, added, "Fáilte Ireland is committed to developing unique visitor experiences and investing in standout attractions, particularly in regional areas. The new National Surf Centre, which has been developed by Fáilte Ireland in partnership with Sligo County Council and Department of Rural Community Development, is a major new activity tourism amenity that will support the continued development of the activity tourism sector in Sligo. The vision of this project is to reach a wide ranging domestic and international audience, from beginners to advanced surfers, by providing a world-class visitor experience and focal point for tourism on the Wild Atlantic Way. The new centre delivers on Fáilte Ireland's Opening the Outdoors strategic pillar, supporting our ambition to develop Ireland as an internationally recognised outdoor activity destination."
Councillor Mullaney added, "While already renowned nationally and internationally as a prime surfing destination, Strandhill's reputation is now further enhanced through the addition of this world-class, first of its kind purpose built surfing facility. This investment strengthens County Sligo’s positioning as a key tourism hub along the Wild Atlantic Way. Sligo County Council is delighted to have partnered with Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in delivering this unique visitor experience for Sligo."
The National Surf Centre, Strandhill, will serve as a key visitor experience on the Wild Atlantic Way with state-of-the-art surfing facilities and breath-taking views of the ocean and surrounding landscape. Home to three surf schools and the County Sligo Surf Club, it will offer a vast and inclusive programme of services to suit every surfer, from novice to experienced.
Overlooking the waterfront in Strandhill, Co. Sligo, the National Surf Centre, Strandhill is a purpose-built architectural building, featuring artwork on the front exterior by Donegal artist and surfer Barry Britton. The centre provides fully serviced changing, shower and locker facilities with extensive ground floor space to be used for surf class training and demonstrations. It also includes a bespoke surf and leisure retail experience along with a large-scale flexible meeting room, that is available for hire.
© 2023 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.