Thursday 27 October 2016

Irish film favourite Ardmore studios up for sale

Published 18/10/2016 | 14:03

The Tudors was filmed at Ardmore Studios and around Wicklow county
The Tudors was filmed at Ardmore Studios and around Wicklow county
The Entrance to Ardmore Studios

Wicklow’s Ardmore Studios – home to TV and movie hits such as Penny Dreadful, the Tudors and Braveheart – has been put up for sale today.

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Majority owned by former U2 manager Paul McGuinness and the band’s one-time accountant, Ossie Kilkenny, Ardmore is being sold as it faces the prospect of increasing competition from rivals.

Earlier this year, Ashford Studios, also in Co Wicklow, finalised plans for a huge €90m expansion that would see four new film studios opened at its base. That studio has been a base for the hugely successful TV show Vikings.

And in Limerick, Troy Studios has opened a new multi-million euro facility on the site of a former Dell building. The directors of Troy Studios include Ossie Killkenny and Ardmore Studios chief executive Siun Ni Raghallaigh. Mr McGuinness is not involved in that project. Ms Ni Raghallaigh is also the chairwoman of TG4.

Ardmore is based on 18 acres in Bray, and offers a full suite of production services.

Productions currently underway there include The Professor and the Madman, the movie starring Sean Penn and Mel Gibson.  It tells the story about the compilation of the first Oxford English Dictionary.

The Entrance to Ardmore Studios
The Entrance to Ardmore Studios

The hit Sky show Moone Boy, which was written by and stars Chris O’Dowd, has also been filmed at Ardmore.

Last year, Ardmore Studios made a profit of €1.3m, but had nearly collapsed during the recession due to a huge debt pile. It’s been owned for the last 30 years by Mr Kilkenny and Mr McGuinness, along with Enterprise Ireland.

The Tudors was made in the Ardmore Studios, Co Wicklow
The Tudors was made in the Ardmore Studios, Co Wicklow

They said this afternoon that they believe the “time is right” for selling the studio.

“Ardmore has recorded significant profitability over the last number of years whilst operating to almost full capacity,” according to a statement. “The favourable Section 481 tax incentive scheme is a key attractor for international productions and demand for fully-serviced studio space in Ireland remains buoyant.”

The statement added: “Ardmore Studios is witnessing significant demand for full studio services and has operated at an average annual capacity of 85-90pc since 2013. Over the past three years, the directors have invested over €2m into the studios to significantly enhance and upgrade its on-site facilities.”

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