Coillte and Failte Ireland have broken ground on a €16 million redevelopment of Avondale House and Forest Park, which will provide an iconic and world-class visitor destination in Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow.

This €16m partnership between Coillte, Fáilte Ireland and EAK (erlebnis akademie AG), will transform Avondale into a unique family attraction and a key new destination in Ireland’s Ancient East.

The newly redeveloped Coillte Avondale House and Forest Park is expected to open to the public in spring 2022.

Avondale Forest Park attractions

  • A new 38m (circa 12-storey high) wooden viewing tower – including an innovative slide – offering visitors spectacular 360-degree views of the park and surrounding countryside;
  • A unique 1.2km tree-top walkway with breath-taking views of Avondale’s diverse forest;
  • A Visitor Orientation Hub with a new café and renovated courtyard buildings;
  • A walled garden that will be rejuvenated for garden lovers to enjoy.
Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, Pippa Hackett; CEO Coillte, Imelda Hurley; director of product development at Fáilte Ireland, Orla Carroll; and Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin. Image source: Robbie Reynolds

There are a number of interactive attractions too:

  • ‘At Home with the Parnell’s’ will celebrate the life and times of Charles Stewart Parnell, and his two sisters Anna and Fanny Parnell, co-founders of the Ladies Land League in 1881;
  • ‘The Evolution of Forestry’ will look through the history of the forest park from the 1700s to the present day and beyond. Visitors will learn about the growing importance of wood as consumer preferences rapidly turn towards selecting renewable and sustainable construction materials.

While parts of the park will be restricted to visitors during construction works, the forest park will remain open.