President Michael D. Higgins today performed the official opening of ‘Beyond the Trees Avondale’.
President Michael D. Higgins today performed the official opening of ‘Beyond the Trees Avondale’, a new visitor experience developed in partnership between Coillte, Fáilte Ireland and EAK Ireland in Avondale Forest Park, combining a 700 metre Treetop Walk with a 12 storey high Viewing Tower. Beyond the Trees Avondale will be further enhanced in the Autumn when restoration work on Avondale House, the home of Charles Stewart Parnell, will be completed and the house will open to visitors.
Ireland’s newest visitor experience is a collaboration between Coillte, Fáilte Ireland and EAK Ireland. The €19m project at Avondale is part of Coillte’s strategy to create more world class visitor destinations and increase recreation spaces nationally, and will encourage international and domestic visitors to stay longer and spend more in Wicklow and the wider Ireland’s Ancient East region, driving economic and employment opportunities for local communities.
60 new full and part-time jobs have been created to staff the site. Beyond the Trees Avondale expects to attract 200,000 to 250,000 visitors within a full year of opening.
Visitors arriving at Beyond the Trees Avondale will enter through the new Seed Café into the Walled Garden, which also houses a Coillte Pavilion, an immersive exhibition that tells the story of Coillte’s work in forestry, recreation, nature conservation and climate action.
At the end of the Walled Garden, visitors enter the Treetop Walk and begin the journey on the elevated boardwalk, which is up to 23m above the forest floor at its highest point, making their way out over the Avonmore River valley.
In his remarks to formally open Avondale House and Forest Park, President Michael D. Higgins said:
“In terms of lived experience, may I suggest that places like Avondale House and Forest Park allow us all – people from diverse walks of life, of all ages and backgrounds – to reconnect with nature, to reaffirm its critical position in our lives, perhaps even to commit to taking individual and collective actions to protect it, to tackle declining biodiversity and climate change. This could be the greatest impact and legacy of this beautiful forest park which I am so pleased to formally open today.”