€8 million will be invested in the redevelopment entitled ‘A Place for Visionaries’, set to open in 2021
Coillte, Ireland’s largest commercial forestry company, in partnership with Fáilte Ireland, have announced plans to redevelop Avondale House and Forest Park into a state-of-the-art visitor destination. The redevelopment is supported by Wicklow County Council and is set to create a major boost for Ireland’s tourism industry.
Fergal Leamy, Chief Executive of Coillte, said,
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.
Avondale House – A Place for Visionaries
Avondale was 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 Forestry Andrew Doyle TD said,
Last week was a significant week in Irish History, as we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Dáil, and today we are announcing the redevelopment of the birthplace and home of Charles Stewart Parnell, one of Ireland’s leading political leaders.
Fergal Leamy said about the new tourist attraction,
‘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 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 460m lattice walkway providing 360-degree views of the canopy and Avonmore River valley.
Funding and benefits of redevelopment
Fáilte Ireland has provided €6.1 million toward the development and believes it will create a major boost for the tourism industry, particularly around Ireland’s Ancient East, with Chief Executive Paul Kelly commenting,
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.
The detailed design stages commence soon with an expected opening date of the redeveloped 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.