HomeIrish NewsWaterford's Mount Congreve Gardens opens after €7m restoration

Waterford’s Mount Congreve Gardens opens after €7m restoration

Mount Congreve Gardens, Waterford has now officially opened up to the public following a €7 million re-development. Located 10 minutes from Waterford City, Mount Congreve House was home to six generations of the merchant family of Congreves and was built in the 1760s by the celebrated architect John Roberts and remodelled in the late 1960s by Ambrose Congreve, the creator of the gardens that we see today. It is first time that part of the historic Mount Congreve House, located in Kilmeaden, County Waterford, will officially open to visitors.

The project received €5million in capital funding from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund, €1.2million in funding from Waterford City and County Council and €1.2million** 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. (**€960,000 capital investment from Fáilte Ireland with an additional €280,000 investment from Fáilte Ireland for business supports including consumer research, online booking system development and retail design.)

Speaking at the official opening of the project, 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 €64.5m 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.”

Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland added:

“Investing in standout attractions and unique experiences is a key element of attracting international visitors to Ireland and encouraging domestic tourists to explore different areas of the country. Fáilte Ireland’s research into gardens shows that visitors see gardens as highly immersive and dynamic experience for the senses, that allows them to reconnect with nature and encourages them to explore.

Fáilte Ireland’s investment of €1.2million in capital and business supports for Mount Congreve brings the visitor experience of these world-renowned gardens to the next level. It has also delivered the commercial plan, retail offering and restaurant to ensure the financial sustainability of this beautiful place for future generations.

Mount Congreve is also part of Fáilte Ireland’s Digital that Delivers programme, which has transformed the online booking system at the attraction and makes it more visible, and importantly bookable, to domestic and international visitors. Fáilte Ireland is currently collaborating with industry and stakeholders to develop tourism in Waterford through the development of a Destination Experience and Development Plan (DEDP), which will drive economic and employment opportunities in the local community”.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, 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.

With the support of €5 million from my Department’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, ‘Ireland’s Global Garden’ has undergone a major transformation over the past two years.

It has now been restored and re-developed as part of the largest single investment in a tourism project in Waterford’s history.

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.”

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary said:

Mount Congreve truly is the jewel in Waterford’s crown. The delivery of this world-class visitor experience has reaffirmed Mount Congreve’s standing as one of ‘the great gardens of the world’ and will ensure the long-term viability of this enormously important national visitor attraction.

This facility will soon welcome over 86,000 visitors from near and far. Not only will they take with them an enduring memory of the breathtaking gardens and woodlands, but also of Mount Congreve House itself and its compelling history.

It is a wonderful testament to the commitment and dedication of the Mount Congreve staff, stakeholders, Waterford City and County Council, Fáilte Ireland and Government departments that have brought this vision to reality.”

Commercial Director at Mount Congreve Gardens and Waterford Treasures Sara Dolan said:

For many many years, work had been going on behind the walls of Mount Congreve Gardens with the result being the creation of the most magnificent private gardens through the vision of Ambrose Congreve, and today those gardens are unveiled for visitors to now fully enjoy. In addition, it is momentous that the house at Mount Congreve officially opens to visitors for the first time, this is phase one of this project area and we look forward to opening more of the spaces in the house over the coming years.

In April 2011 Mr Congreve was in London en route to the Chelsea Flower Show, aged 104 when he died. His ashes were returned to Mount Congreve and placed in the temple overlooking his gardens and the River Suir below. The work started by Mr Congreve has continued through this transformative project and the result is a world-class visitor experience and a new shining jewel in Waterford’s tourism crown.

This year alone we expect to welcome some 86,000 visitors to Mount Congreve Gardens and to build upon this annually generating additional employment and revenue opportunities for Waterford and the Southeast region.”

Prerna Shah
Prerna Shah
Prerna Shah is a media and content professional with over a decade of experience in both print as well as digital. She pursues her love of a good story and storytelling by writing features, blogs, essays and interviews.

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