Visitors to Avondale House and Forest Park were surprised last week to discover that signs had been erected in the windows of the 200-year-old house, stating that the House and Café would be closed for the coming summer season.
Cllr. Pat Kennedy has called on Coillte to reopen Avondale House and Café along with the Charles Stewart Parnell Museum.
“It is very disappointing to see the House and Café closed for the coming season” he said. “Many come to visit the Charles Stewart Parnell Museum in Avondale House and the Café is used by both locals and the travelling public alike.
“I have been in contact with Coillte about this matter and have asked them to erect more signs around the grounds and car parks to inform people of the closure.
“Coillte have also confirmed to me that they hope to lodge a planning application for the full redevelopment of the park in the next six weeks. Avondale House and the Charles Stewart Parnell Museum are incorporated into the future plan. I have also asked Coillte to put these plans on display around the grounds.”
Coillte released a statement this afternoon saying the closure is due to plans to create a significant visitor destination at Avondale House and Forest Park.
Coillte said they have a design team that includes visitor interpretation experts, tourism specialists and architects working on the project, with plans to bring a planning application to Wicklow County Council in the coming weeks.
At that stage, detailed designs will be made available to the general public for their review and input as part of an open day at the park.
Daithi de Forge, Head of Recreation with Coillte said “Consultations with local residents, the Parnell Historical Society, Rathdrum Business Group, as well as other local organisations have been taking place since the early planning stages for the project — this has generated valuable feedback that has helped shape the proposal over recent months.
“The Forest Park remains open to the public as normal, but the existing café and house will not remain open as we prepare for works to create a destination visitor centre at Avondale House & Forest Park.”