The long-awaited forest resort built at a cost of nearly €250 million in Longford forest has been completed. Center Parcs and the government recently marked the official completion of the resort, which is set among 400 acres of Irish woodland, and consists of 466 self-catering lodges and 30 apartments, up to 100 indoor and outdoor activities, and 10 restaurants.

Built at a cost of €233 million

The Center Parcs Longford Forest was constructed in a little less than two years at a cost of €233 million. The resort has been developed by Center Parcs UK whose parent is Brookfield Property Partners, one of the world’s largest commercial real estate companies. The Irish resort, which is the first outside the UK for the company which has five villages in Britain, is expected to add an entirely new dimension to Ireland’s tourism and leisure market with its all year-round short breaks. [caption id="attachment_51469" align="alignright" width="448"] L-R: Declan Brosnahan, Roadbridge; Darragh Feighery, general manager, Center Parcs, Longford; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD; Jim Mulcair, Roadbridge; Martin Dalby, CEO, Center Parcs; John Duggan, Roadbridge; Rob Lally, Roadbridge, at the official opening.[/caption] The resort will welcome its first guests in Ireland in the coming weeks, tentatively July 29, with final preparations under way in earnest.

During construction Center Parcs created more than 750 jobs

As it now enters the operational phase, a further 1,000 permanent jobs have been created. The resort is anticipated to provide a €32 million annual boost to Ireland’s economy; adding an estimated €1 billion to GDP in the coming 20 years. Center Parcs Longford Forest will have the capacity to handle up to 2,500 guests during each short break with three types of lodges for families to choose from: Woodland, Executive and Exclusive. “Eighteen months after turning the sod here in Newcastle Wood, I’m really pleased to be back for the official opening of Ireland’s first Center Parcs,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said. “This huge tourism development has the potential to be a game changer for the midlands. It will bring unprecedented numbers of tourists to this beautiful part of the country and the €233 million investment which has been made by the company in Longford is almost certainly the largest in the county’s history.

Creation of 1,000 jobs

“The creation of 1,000 jobs will have a positive impact across the region and indeed it was a pleasure to meet some of the new employees here today. "The Irish tourism industry has grown steadily in recent years and this addition to our tourism offering will ensure visitors get to experience a part of the country they may otherwise have missed. "I wish everyone at Center Parcs well as they prepare to welcome their first visitors from across Ireland and further afield in the coming weeks,” said Varadkar. Martin Dalby, chief executive of Center Parcs, said: “Four years since we announced our plans to expand into Ireland, we all feel an enormous sense of pride and achievement to see the beautiful surroundings of Newcastle Wood transformed into Center Parcs Longford Forest and for Ireland’s families to finally have the opportunity to enjoy a unique forest resort experience. “This is a great day for Center Parcs and I want to thank our construction partners Roadbridge and Sisk, for helping us to bring our vision to life. "Our full team is now in place and are very excited about extending a warm Irish welcome to our guests. I would also like to thank the community of Longford for supporting our journey so far. "We look forward to continuing to enhance the community and economy around us here in the Midlands for very many years to come.” Mary Buckley, executive director of IDA Ireland, said: “Center Parcs Longford Forest has provided a major jobs boost for the Midlands region and will provide a significant contribution to Ireland’s economy and tourism and leisure market. "IDA Ireland is pleased to support Center Parcs and I would like to congratulate its leadership team and 1,000 employees on the delivery of this significant €233 million investment project.”

Will be open 365 days of the year

Center Parcs will be open 365 days of the year, whatever the weather. The centre-piece of the resort is the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, which is set to be Ireland’s largest indoor water park and is heated to a tropical 29.5C all year round. “Everyone at Roadbridge would like to take the opportunity to wish Center Parcs Longford Forest great success and have immensely enjoyed our time working on this landmark project," said Jim Mulcair, executive chairman of Roadbridge. "We would also like to thank our dedicated and enthusiastic construction team for constantly portraying the best of Roadbridge at all times.”