Friday 18 October 2019

Center Parcs unveils €200m plans for Longford Forest resort

€1 billion 'economic uplift' estimated

An artist's impression of the development.
An artist's impression of the development.
An artist's impression of the development.
Lodges nestled in the forest. Centre Parcs - Executive lodge
New Exclusives 2012. Centre Parcs - exclusive lodge
Centre Parcs - Family bike riding along path through forest
Centre Parcs - outdoor pool showing the side of the dome
Centre Parcs - a long row of bikes facing the lake
Centre Parcs - Woodland scenery at Woburn Forest
Centre Parcs - Lounge inside Woodland Lodge at Woburn Forest
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Center Parcs has revealed its proposed plans for a €200m holiday village near Ballymahon, Co. Longford.

The UK holiday company today unveiled a full preview of Center Parcs Longford Forest, to be located 5km from Ballymahon in Newcastle Wood.

The Dutch-style holiday village will create some 750 jobs during construction and employ up to 1,000 in permanent jobs once operational, the company said.

The Longford development could generate an economic uplift of €1 billion for the Irish economy over the next 20 years, Centre Parcs estimates.

It is the first Center Parcs UK site be to be built outside of England, housing up to 2,500 guests in what is a major tourism coup for the Midlands county.


A detailed masterplan unveiled today shows scale models of the lodges and centre buildings – including the Subtropical Swimming Paradise - and artist’s impressions of various aspects of the village (see gallery above).

It is envisaged that the Longford development will consist of:

  • 500 lodges including apartments and treehouses
  • A main centre building housing indoor leisure activities, a range of shops and restaurants and the Subtropical Swimming Paradise
  • An Aqua Sana Spa
  • A lake
  • Outdoor sports and leisure facilities
  • A Nature Centre

“Today marks a significant milestone in our plan to bring Center Parcs to Ireland," said Center Parcs CEO, Martin Dalby.

"Center Parcs Longford Forest will have a significant impact on the local and regional economy, bringing 1,750 jobs and a €1 billion injection into the economy over a 20 year period," he added.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Martin Dalby CEO of Center Parcs in Ballymahon, Co Longford, at the Coillte owned Newcastle Woods
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Martin Dalby CEO of Center Parcs in Ballymahon, Co Longford, at the Coillte owned Newcastle Woods
Center Parcs, Google 360 view of Treehouse
Center Parcs - Executive Lodge exterior
Part of the Center Parcs holiday village in Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire
Center Parcs - Suite, A night-time shot of the round bath from the balcony
Center Parcs - the lake at Whinfell Forest with the Village Centre in the background
Center Parcs - inside a Woodland Lodge at Woburn Forest
A family on the edge of the 45-degree drop in Tropical Cyclone in Center Parcs Elveden Forest in the UK

The plans were shared with the local community and residents at one of a series of community engagement days hosted by the company, it says.

The planning application will be submitted in the autumn. 

From there, Longford County Council will undertake a formal five week period of consultation, during which time the Center Parcs plans will be on public display at the Council office in Longford town.

The Center Parcs model

Center Parcs operates several UK resorts - including Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria, Lonleat Forest in Wiltshire, Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire and Elveden Forest in Suffolk.

The idea is that guests pay a basic fee for accommodation - usually a short weekend or midweek break - and then book activities online ahead of their visit.

The choice of activities is vast - ranging from kayaking and raft-building to high ropes courses, bike hire, paintball, archery, adventure golf, tennis and more.

"We have over 28 years’ experience in developing and operating market leading holiday villages throughout the UK, and we are excited about the prospect of bringing our award winning short break offering to Irish families," Dalby said.

The firm recently told locals that it will protect a ringfort, discovered following an archaeological survey of the 375-acre site, and restore an old herdsman hut also located on the site.

Pending planning permission, Center Parcs Longford is expected to open in 2019 after a two year construction period.

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