Nice find Ken
Presumably now the State will complete this takeover now in a proper manner and then the Gardens can be advertised as a major tourist attraction. This is a gilt edged opportunity for Waterford to add to its list of tourist venues.
A property which won an award as a Great Garden of the World would be a serious attraction for any tourist and this is Waterford's chance to benefit by it. The nurseries already have a good payroll and here we can make it even better. Its so close to Waterford city that a tourist could easily take it in on a visit to Waterford Crystal.
There is a danger that the people Ambrose Congreve was paying to maintain the place will have to be left go now, resulting in the place not being maintained by the government. Big questions are:
- who is going to maintain the place?
- what are the states plans, will they continue to open it up and create the world class visitor attraction Congreve had in mind?
- Could it be possible to get the suir valley railway to stop near there and into the city centre. (the railway would need to stop fairly near as older people wont be able for a whole load of walking especially on tiny roads)
Somebody said this is a gilt edged opportunity, totally agree. However, the state could manage to mess up through delays, politics and lack of money.
Please God, tell me the State is not the new owner. Surely it must be in some kind of trust so the grubby politicians/banking elite can't get their hands on it?
Supposedly the gardens were to be handed over to the state but I dunno if that means the OPW will manage it, or someone else. I saw a presentation a few years ago which showed plans to develop the gardens:
- 180 bed hotel and spa
- 40 berth marina
- Country pursuits centre
- Holiday homes
- Garden visitor centre
- Car park
Sounds like a vulgar playground for the nouveau riche.
I agree with dumdum, I'm sure Ambrose Congreve wouldnt have wanted a Celtic Tiger type development on his amazing gardens.
In my opinion what they should do and the quicker the better IMO is open the gardens more widely to the public straight away, daily instead of the current thursdays only and let kids in too(I hated that antiquated rule!). Get decent parking in along with a garden visitor centre and restaurant/cafe. As unobtrusive as possible to fit in with the gardens.
Improve the back Kilmeaden road greatly(resurface/get rid of blind bends /put in cycle path?) and advertise well from the new Cork Rd roundabout at Kilmeaden and also from the Waterford outer ring road. The railway is an added bonus and it definitely could stop at the estate. Open the Cosy Thatch again too, best pub in the world IMO and its on the back road too. The whole thing could be an absolute tourist goldmine. We need sustainable tourism, its what we do best these days . We cant compete as an industrial city anymore. Someone needs to do it quickly though, like the Crystal development in the Viking quarter which has been an unqualified success.
I certainly haven't
Well now you just have. Go out an visit, you'll enjoy. Their website is http://mountcongreve.com/index.html
one of Buttlerstown GAA's greatest ever players
I wouldn't rule out the role of industry. Tourism isn't enough to keep all the pubs and restaurants going.
However, I think we could definitely market the county better, and the City is the gateway to the county.
Just look at Ardmore. It has a round tower, arguably more historical value than glendalough, but not so many tourists. The county is dotted with pretty little villages (Stradbally, Dunmore, Ardmore, Lismore etc), and Mt Congreve adds to this.
I really like the cyclepath idea. Could one be put in beside the railway? Tourists could rent bike in the City, cycle along the suir to Kilmeadan, and see the gardens.
I think it going to the State is a fantastic idea. We are all part of the state, so wouldn't that be better than one individual owning it?
The government is not your friend.
Well they're my friend. I went out to Shortt's for a few pints with them last night.
I knew Ambrose well and all I can say is "ni bheidh a leithead ann aris"....
A visitor once wrote about Exbury, Lionel de Rothschild's garden who was his gardening mentor. It was like Heaven with the gates left open.
He has left us all a piece of heaven on the banks of the Suir, a wonderful legacy of a truly extraordinary man. An inspiration to those who knew him.
From the earth we come and to the earth we return in between we garden.
Ar dheis De go rabh a anam dilis.