Coillte Opens Newly Refurbished Avondale House to the Public

Coillte has opened the newly refurbished Avondale House with guided tours for
visitors taking them on a historic journey through much of the home of Samuel Hayes, it’s
first owner, the Parnell family who inhabited the house for much of the 1800s, and the
forestry school which was subsequently set up in the house once it was acquired by the
state in 1904.

6-4-23 Picture shows The Dining Room, Avondale House, Co Wicklow. Pic Naoise Culhane -no fee

The newly refurbished Avondale House is an added attraction for visitors to Avondale Forest
Park, who can now experience the house tour alongside the magnificent Beyond the Trees
Avondale tree top walk and viewing tour which has already seen over 300,000 people visit
Avondale Forest Park since it opened in July 2022. Beyond the Trees Avondale is a
collaboration between Coillte, Fáilte Ireland and EAK Ireland, bringing a truly unique visitor
experience to Ireland’s Ancient East. This €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. Over 60 new full and part-time jobs were
created to staff the site, the majority of whom are from the locality, and Coillte have now
added additional staff to conduct tours of the newly refurbished house for

6-4-23 Picture shows The Living Room, Avondale House, Co Wicklow. Pic Naoise Culhane -no fee

The story of Avondale starts with Samuel Hayes who began construction of the house in

Avondale House has been a home and a school during its lifetime, and many
consider it the birthplace of forestry in Ireland. The most famous residents were the Parnell
family, all 12 of them, who lived here for a large part of the 1800s. Among that large family
was Charles Stewart Parnell, one of Ireland’s greatest statesmen, who practised his
speeches from the balcony in the main hall, while his equally politically active sisters
critiqued him from down below.

The estate came into the ownership of the Government in 1904 and was home to Ireland’s
first forestry school for many years, before Coillte became its custodian when the semi-state
forestry company was formed in 1989.

6-4-23 Picture shows The Library, Avondale House, Co Wicklow. Pic Naoise Culhane -no fee

The Avondale House tour takes in the Main Hall, Morning Room, Dining Room, Living Room,
Parnell’s Library, and the Forestry School Classroom. Coillte consulted with experts in
period furniture and design refurbishment to ensure an experience for visitors that is true to
the period. A number of the key pieces of furniture and artefacts on display are fully
authentic and original to the house. These include an original Bossi fireplace, paintings and
sculptures, Parnell’s wooden desk, numerous documents and books, and much more. Items
on display which are not original have been carefully researched to ensure they are
historically accurate.

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