HERITAGE ATTRACTION AT WESTPORT ESTATE HAS BEEN AWARDED €20.2M INVESTMENT GRANT BY FÁILTE IRELANDProject is part of overall €75 Million investment plan by the Hughes family to transform Westport Estate into a world-class tourism destination and visitor attraction
10th June 2021:Westport Estate, home to one of Ireland’s most popular heritage attractions, Westport House, welcomes today’s announcement that it has been awarded Fáilte Ireland’s Platforms for Growth grant for Heritage and Cultural Attractions, worth €20.2 million. The funding will be part of an ongoing, ambitious masterplan that plans to transform Westport Estate into a world-class tourism destination and visitor attraction and benefit the overall region.
Westport Estate is owned by the Hughes Group, the Mayo family behind the globally successful clothing manufacturing company, Portwest. The overall vision of the Hughes Family is to reimagine the entire offering within the 433-acre grounds as part of a €75 million master plan, which also includes the redevelopment of Hotel Westport
Through Portwest, Hotel Westport and Westport House, the group currently employs 500 people in Westport, Co. Mayo, a number which is set to grow by an estimated 450 construction jobs and an additional 245 new jobs over the course of the full development plan. Additionally, it is expected that Westport Estate will attract over 277,000 visitors to the key attractions supported by Failte Ireland by 2033, generating a huge economic and tourism boost for the entire northwest region.
Among the key areas of work that will be supported by the Fáilte Ireland grant and in partnership with acclaimed designer Mary Reynolds, Westport Estate will be creating a very different and uniquely Irish re-wilded landscape experience connecting the earth with Irish heritage.
The restoration of Westport House and the reimagining of its 300-year history will be a strong feature. In addition, a brand-new immersive visitor experience will be created that tells the legendary story of Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Connacht.
Owen Hughes, Director of Westport Estate commented: “We are absolutely thrilled with the news today. As a local family we are extremely proud to have provided employment for generations through Portwest and more recently within Westport Estate. Our vision is to help transform Westport House and the entire Estate into a world-class beacon of tourism for both Mayo and the entire country and this partnership with Fáilte Ireland will play a pivotal role in achieving this.”Commenting on today’s announcement, Barry O’Connor, CEO of Westport Estate, said: “We are incredibly proud that Westport Estate has been awarded the Fáilte Ireland grant. The funding, along with the investment from the Hughes family, will enable us to take our offering to the next level and transform Westport Estate into a world-class tourism destination and visitor attraction. We have a bright, bold vision for the future, one that is built on sustainability, innovation, and heritage and this public-private partnership will have a hugely positive impact on Westport and the wider region.”Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland said: “Driving regional growth of tourism is a key priority for Fáilte Ireland, particularly after the year the sector has been through. The aim of the Platforms for Growth funding scheme is to grow Ireland’s stock of large-scale visitor attractions, catering to both a domestic and an international audience. The standard of applications received for this scheme has been incredibly high and we are encouraged by the level of innovation and creativity demonstrated. The four awarded projects are truly best-in-class. They are diverse, engaging and unique, and will help visitors connect with Ireland and bring the country’s vibrant culture, heritage and people to life.”
Earlier this year, works commenced on Westport House which is phase one of the restoration project and is expected to be completed by the autumn. Estimated to cost in the region of €5 million, it will see much-needed conservation work carried out to the Georgian-era home to help prepare it for the larger project ahead.