It is the first time that part of the historic Mount Congreve House will officially open to visitors, reports Shauna McCrudden
Today, March 1st, Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD and Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD officially opened Mount Congreve Gardens in Co Waterford to the public following a €7 million re-development.
The project received €5 million in capital funding from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund, €1.2 million in funding from Waterford City and County Council, and €1.2 million investment in capital and business supports from Fáilte Ireland.
It is the largest investment in a visitor attraction in Waterford and is aiming to attract over 86,000 visitors in 2023, rising to over 130,000 visitors annually by 2032. This would drive an economic benefit of €64.5 million in the area by 2033 along with the creation of 16 year-round and 11 seasonal jobs directly and supporting 174 jobs indirectly on an annual basis.
Speaking at the official opening of the project today, Minister Humphreys said, “The opening of the spectacular Mount Congreve Gardens marks a historic day for Waterford and the South East. This is a world-class tourist attraction that will welcome tens of thousands of visitors every year and provide a huge boost to the local economy.
“The investment represents a major vote of confidence in the South East and demonstrates our commitment to helping our rural communities go from strength to strength.”
Re-developed garden plans
Located 10 minutes from Waterford City, Mount Congreve has been lauded as a ‘great garden of the world’ and the title is fitting to an incredible 70 acres of woodland gardens and 4 acres of walled gardens within a 140-acre estate.
Located 10 minutes outside of Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford and adjacent to Waterford’s Greenway, a reinvigoration of the gardens has taken place under the vision of Estate Manager, Ray Sinnott and Garden Curator Michael White. This is alongside a huge investment of insights, expertise, staff time and funds by both Fáilte Ireland and Waterford City and County Council working in partnership with design consultants Imagemakers Design and The Paul Hogarth Company.
A new orientation and wayfinding system is in place whereby visitors can now explore three different walking routes peppered with creative interpretation and play features that tell the story of Mount Congreve and its botanic collection.
Enhancements have also been made to the garden infrastructure which includes new pathways and a woodland playground for families, a new wetlands walk where dog owners can now enjoy a walk at Mount Congreve, plus additional car parking. As well as an immersive audio-visual exhibition of the garden and family history and a new purpose-built visitor centre.
Speaking at the official opening of the project today, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD, said, “The investment of €1.2 million made by Fáilte Ireland towards this world-class tourism destination will, without doubt, open the South-East region to a raft of new visitors.
“It is anticipated the visitors attracted to Mount Congreve will spend a total of €64.5 million in the area by 2033. This represents spend in the Waterford region of €6.45m annually and the spend generated because of this investment will indirectly support 174 jobs annually.
“The sustainable redevelopment of Mount Congreve is an example of how we can achieve great things if we work together. The future of tourism in Waterford is brighter today thanks to the success of this project.”
This year alone, Mount Congreve House and Gardens expect to welcome some 85,000 visitors.
Mount Congreve House and Gardens also act as a respite point for the Waterford Greenway with the 48km long attraction running adjacent to the gardens. The gardens are open year-round, seven days a week (four days a week in low season). Full details can be found at mountcongreve.com
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