Friday 20 January 2017

Cyclist Sean Kelly backs Johnny Ronan plan for hotel

Published 04/12/2016 | 02:30

Developer Johnny Ronan's proposed new hotel on the grounds of St Valery's House in Wicklow
Developer Johnny Ronan's proposed new hotel on the grounds of St Valery's House in Wicklow

Legendary cyclist Sean Kelly and two-time Irish Olympian and two-time Ras winner Philip Cassidy have rowed in to support an application by developer Johnny Ronan's Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) to develop a 141-bedroom hotel in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.

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The proposed hotel in the grounds of St Valery's House is aimed at the growing market for sports tourism, with Ronan seeking to attract cyclists, walkers, kayakers and others to Ireland's 'garden county'.

Cyclist Sean Kelly
Cyclist Sean Kelly

The Sunday Independent understands that Sean Kelly - the world's number one cyclist for five consecutive years at the peak of his professional career - has already written a letter of support for the project to Wicklow County Council. In his submission, the Carrick-on-Suir man has pledged to locate a number of his trophies and accolades from his professional cycling career at the hotel. RGRE anticipates that the proposed display would be sufficient by itself to attract cycling enthusiasts and tourists to the hotel and the surrounding area.

Philip Cassidy, meanwhile, expressed his support for the development of the hotel to council planners, arguing that it is not a matter of "reinventing the wheel as sporting tourism is a well-trodden path in the UK and Europe".

Local businesses operating under the umbrella of Enniskerry Traders have also sent RGRE a letter of support for the project. RGRE, for its part, argues that the proposed hotel would add to the diversity of Enniskerry and Wicklow's existing hospitality offering.

The company expects the project to bring approximately 150 jobs to the local area should it receive approval from Wicklow County Council.

Ronan has a track record in delivering quality hotels. His previous partnership with Richard Barrett at the helm of Treasury Holdings delivered five-star offerings such as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Enniskerry's Powerscourt Estate (now renamed the Powerscourt Hotel and owned by Tetrarch Capital) and the Westin Hotel on Dublin's Westmoreland Street.

The company was also responsible for the development of the Temple Bar Hotel in Dublin city centre, the School House Hotel in Dublin 4 and Bewley's Hotel in Leopardstown.

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