Westport House and Estate.

Green light sought for €85m. transformation of Mayo estate

Westport House has confirmed that a planning application has been submitted to to Mayo County Council for the €85 million restoration and interpretation of Westport Estate.

This transformative development, within a nationally significant estate with several protected structures throughout, promises to elevate this iconic cultural and historical landmark to international significance whilst remaining central to the town of Westport and the county of Mayo.

The proposed development includes:

1. The restoration of Westport House: Repair and upgrade of the fabric and accessibility to Westport House, which is a Protected Structure.

2. The repurposing of the Coach House complex: Restoration and repurposing of the nearby Coach House buildings which are also protected structures.

Extensions to provide a new visitor hub to include the 'Grace O'Malley Experience', a café, retail space, along with visitor and staff facilities .

3. Creating The Wild Realms - Outdoor Landscape and Gardens: Partial restoration of formal Italianate gardens on the western façade of Westport House.

Creation of the new ‘Lower Realm' at 'Ladies Island,' featuring an 'Eartharium' entrance passageway and a new elevated walkway with associated gathering areas and story-telling structure.

Development of the 'Middle Realm' at the existing Walled Garden incorporating the conservation and partial repurposing of the remaining original structures.

Establishment of the 'Upper Realm' at Garvillaun on the western part of the estate with dedicated pedestrian routes around the headland and incorporating the repair and consolidation of an existing causeway access and the creation of a new pontoon walkway across Westport House Lough.

4. Supporting Amenity, Infrastructure, and ancillary development: New cycle, bus, and car parking areas along with the consolidation and rationalisation of existing parking facilities.

Barry O’Connor , CEO Westport Estate: “This is a significant milestone for this ambitious project which not only seeks to secure the future of Westport House but transform it into a world-class tourism destination, operating all year-round for domestic and international visitors alike.

"This will be a “must see” attraction in Mayo and we estimate almost half a million people will be visiting Westport Estate annually while a much greater seasonal spread throughout the year is also anticipated.

"Our submission comes on the back of extensive consultations with the local community and other stakeholders in recent months and we are delighted with the positive feedback and strong support coming from people generally.

"The new vision for the restoration and interpretation of Westport Estate, which is strongly supported by Fáilte Ireland, will be of positive benefit to the cultural and economic vitality not just of Westport but the entire county of Mayo and will be a game changer for Wild Atlantic Way tourism, particularly along the upper Western seaboard."

About The Westport Estate Project

•This is an €85 million investment and will be of major economic and community benefit to Westport and the wider region.

•300 construction jobs, 2,500 new jobs projected for the region and over €100m of projected spend in the wider economy during the construction & development phase of the project.

•The construction stage alone will deliver €42.5 million in wages into the area.

•Westport House has secured a €20.2 million Fáilte Ireland ‘Platforms for Growth’ grant for the development of Heritage and Cultural Attractions.

•Annual visitor numbers to Westport Estate will grow substantially from existing levels (c120,000 annually);

•Expansion in visitors will result in a much more even spread in terms of seasonality.

•The enhanced offer is intended to attract more overseas visitors resulting in an estimated 50/50 split between domestic and international visitors.

•Up to twelve-fold and seven-fold spending increases in the region in the shoulder and off-peak periods respectively.

•The estate currently generates in the order of €29m per annum for the local economy – this is projected to increase to €160m million from the proposed project.

•The majority of this projected spending would not exist in Westport in the absence of the proposed project, which would be the ‘draw’ for visitors.

•There are currently over 200 people employed locally between Westport House and Hotel Westport – an anticipated 150 new jobs will be created directly arising from the project.