Mas­ter plan be­ing pre­pared for Avon­dale re­vamp

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS - BY MYLES BUCHANAN

COONEY Ar­chi­tects are work­ing on pre­par­ing a mas­ter plan to re­de­velop Avon­dale House and For­est Park.

The 500-acre amenity is owned by Coillte, while Failte Ire­land have big plans to make Avon­dale House and For­est Park a key fea­ture of the Ire­land’s An­cient East mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tive.

Speak­ing at last week’s meet­ing of Wick­low County Coun­cil, Pa­trick Mur­phy of Cooney Ar­chi­tects, said the process was still at its early stages hav­ing only started in June, but it is hoped to have a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for­warded to­ward the end of the year.

His­to­ri­ans will also be in­volved in draw­ing up the mas­ter plan to en­sure ev­ery­thing is his­tor­i­cally ac­cu­rate.

Avon­dale House is the birth­place of Charles Ste­wart Parnell. The es­tate was sold to the Gov­ern­ment in 1904 and was used as a forestry school.

Cllr Pat Kennedy, who lives nearby to Avon­dale in Rath­drum, said the whole development had gen­er­ated a lot of in­ter­est.

‘This won’t just put Avon­dale on the map, it will put the whole east coast on the map. We re­cently con­structed a 1.5 km path from the town to Avon­dale, which should help to en­hance the ex­pe­ri­ence,’ said Cllr Kennedy.

Cllr Miriam Mur­phy felt it was great to see such a development tak­ing place in Co Wick­low, while also propos­ing that peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties are also con­sulted about any fu­ture plans.

Cllr John Ryan re­called meet­ing the CEO of Coillte in 2014 to dis­cuss plans for the project.

‘You have nearly ev­ery tree species in the world planted down there. You could cre­ate some­thing very spe­cial.

‘I know at one stage there was talk of tree top walk­ways and ac­tu­ally be­ing able to sleep in the tree tops.’

While Cllr Mary Ka­vanagh de­scribed her­self as a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to the for­est park, she had reser­va­tions about a planned in­ter­pre­ta­tive cen­tre.

‘I think Avon­dale is a lit­tle jewel or a lit­tle oa­sis. I am de­lighted it is go­ing to be de­vel­oped. It’s great not only for Rath­drum, but also for Wick­low in gen­eral.

‘How­ever, some­times in­ter­pre­ta­tive cen­tres can be over­done to such an ex­tent they ac­tu­ally lose their charm. I see that with the Cliffs of Mo­her, which used to be a great ex­pe­ri­ence but now it is a bit clin­i­cal and has lost much of its charm.’

Avon­dale House and For­est Park.

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