LOFTUS HALL is to open its gates to the public in June.
In what is a major boost for the tourism product already available in the Hook Peninsula, it was revealed at Hook Tourism's AGM last Friday night that the grounds to the renowned Loftus Hall will be open to the public to explore this summer.
Cycle rentals will be available on site to explore the extensive grounds and a coffee shop is also to be opened on the grounds.
The legendary mansion is also to be opened in the coming months. It is understood that the house is to be opened up to the public in stages and currently major works are underway to restore the imposing mansion, which was sold last autumn.
Loftus Hall went back on the market in May 2011, with a 64 per cent price reduction from what was previously sold for and at the time of sale John Radford from Sherry Fitzgerald Radford auctioneers said the premises was sold 'in the region' of the €625,000 guide price.
The mansion was previously sold in October 2008 to a Galway businessman for around €1.7m, but owing to the owner's personal circumstances, it was put back up for sale.
The nine-bay Loftus Hall mansion comprises seven reception rooms, 22 bedrooms and a function room spread across three floors.
The mansion was successfully run as a country hotel by the Devereux family until the late 1980s. It was built by the Marquis of Ely in 1870 on the ruins of Redmond Hall, which was associated with the legend of Loftus Hall, which tells of the appearance of the devil during a card game centuries ago.
Meanwhile, in another major tourist development, it was announced at the AGM that the beautiful Colclough Walled Gardens in Tintern Abbey will open on March 16.
The AGM attracted an excellent turnout of more than 50 members to hear an update from chairman David Neville on developments over the past year and plans to attract more visitors to the Hook Peninsula.
'It is clear to us at Hook Tourism that developing our tourism offering on the Hook Peninsula working as a cohesive unit will pay dividends to all involved,' outlined chairman David Neville at the AGM.
Séamus Doran from WLD also addressed this year's AGM letting the members know about funding opportunities for the tourism sector