Fáilte Ireland welcomes ‘major vote of confidence in tourism’ as Government announces funding for projects across rural Ireland

Dunbrody Famine Ship,New Ross, Co Wexford

Fáilte Ireland has today welcomed the announcement of Government funding for tourism projects by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring T.D. under his Department’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF).

Four of the projects announced today have a strong focus on developing tourism and have been awarded a total allocation of €16.3million. Fáilte Ireland’s Director of Product Development Orla Carroll has described this funding as ‘a huge vote of confidence by the Government in tourism’s ability to drive economic growth in rural communities across Ireland.’

The National Tourism Development Authority partnered with Wexford County Council and Waterford City and County Council on two successful funding applications under the RRDF scheme. The New Ross Tourism Transformation in Co. Wexford and Ireland’s Global Garden at Mount Congreve Estate in Co. Waterford were awarded €5.5million and €3.7million respectively.

The project in New Ross will see the development of a new world-class visitor attraction telling the unique story of Norman Wexford through the Knight William Marshall.  It will also create a new and immersive visitor experience at Dunbrody Famine Ship while adding significant improvements to the town that will drive tourism. The project for New Ross is estimated by Fáilte Ireland to deliver €11.3m a year in revenue over a 10-year period, directly supporting 144 jobs for the local area.

The Mount Congreve Estate will be a step-change for Waterford as it aims to position the site as ‘one of the great gardens of the world’. Fáilte Ireland predicts it will deliver €23.6m in revenue over a decade for rural Waterford, supporting 64 jobs in the regional economy.

Speaking at the announcement in New Ross, Co. Wexford today, Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland said:

“The RRDF project proposals that Fáilte Ireland worked on in partnership with the local authorities in Wexford and Waterford will be truly transformative for tourism in this part of Ireland’s Ancient East. Both projects will deliver significant growth in visitor numbers, revenue and job creation in their local communities and we are delighted that they have been awarded major funding by the Government. The four projects announced today with a strong tourism focus have been awarded a total allocation of just over €16.3million. This reflects the ability of the sector, and the confidence the Government has in it, to drive rural development and regional growth. Fáilte Ireland will continue to work closely with the Department of Rural and Community Development to deliver quality visitor experiences across the regions.”

The tourism-related projects allocated funding today also include the development of a 46km stretch of the Barrow Blueway, located along the Grand Canal Barrow Line, as well as funding for the Clew Bay Greenway Project in Co. Mayo. The total cost of all four projects, including match funding, is €25.2million which marks a major investment for tourism.

The Government’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund is a key component of Project Ireland 2040. A total funding amount of €62million was announced for 26 projects worth €95million through the RRDF today. For more information, visit the Department of Rural and Community Development website 

Ireland’s Global Garden at Mount Congreve Estate (total project cost, including Fáilte Ireland and Wexford County Council funding, is €4.96million)

The Mount Congreve Estate is internationally renowned as one of ‘The Great Gardens of the World’ by a world leading authority – The Massachusetts Horticultural Society who awarded the President’s Choice Award in 2001. Ireland’s Global Garden at Mount Congreve is famed for its magnolias and is home to one of the largest collection of rhododendrons in the world. The Mount Congreve House was built for John Congreve in the 1760s and has been kept in the family until Ambrose Congreve’s death in 2011. In 2011 the House and Gardens were transferred to a Trust for the benefit of the people of Ireland and since then its popularity as a tourist attraction has been growing in line with global trends which reflect visitors’ preferences for outdoor experiences and ‘being in nature’. Specific proposals outlined in the RRDF application include:

  • The creation of an iconic and immersive visitor experience that brings the story of Mount Congreve to life, how Ambrose Congreve’s travels inspired him to build follies and collect plants from every continent. This unique story will be retold through guided tours, a new interactive visitor experience, wetland garden trail, events and beautifully illustrated multi-lingual interpretation. For this project a ‘Garden Interpretation Concept’ has been drawn up which depicts ‘A World of Amazing Gardens’, this would see the development of eight extraordinary natural spaces, inspired by the original vision of Ambrose Congreve.
  • The reinvigoration of the gardens and restoration of the ornate Georgian Glasshouse,  which will be a key addition to the visitor experience and will offer an immersive insight into the gardens and the unique plants grown there.
  • Refurbishment of the traditional courtyard for large seasonal events to create a year-round sustainable destination that could host 4,000 visitors at any one time.


New Ross Tourism Transformation project  (total project cost, including Fáilte Ireland and Waterford City and County Council funding, is €9.32million)


This project will develop, expand and upgrade the existing Tourism Hub on the South Quay in New Ross and will include the development of a new visitor attraction centred around creating a world-class immersive Norman Visitor Experience. This will be a game-changer for New Ross, the Hook peninsula and the wider Wexford area. This forms part of the work the Ireland’s Ancient East team at Fáilte Ireland is doing with the local authority to develop a cluster of compelling visitor attractions in Wexford, including the Irish National Heritage Park at Ferrycarrig and the Hook Lighthouse Visitor Centre at Hook Peninsula, both of which have been allocated funding through Fáilte Ireland investment schemes. Overview of New Ross Tourism Transformation project:


  • William Marshall ‘The Greatest Knight that ever lived’: the development of a world-class visitor attraction telling the unique story of Norman Wexford through the Norman Knight William Marshall in an historic, but currently vacant, premises on South Quay
  • Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience Transformation: The creation of a new immersive visitor experience that transports the visitor back to New Ross town and Port of Migration at the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience on South Quay.
  • Upgrade & Expansion of the ‘Norman Way’ within New Ross town
  • Upgrade the existing Dunbrody visitor experience
  • Rehouse the ‘Ros Tapestry’ (has been compared to the Bayeux Tapestry) to a site that will enable it to deliver its true potential and showcase this hidden gem to its full potential.

Fáilte Ireland
Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, was established in 2003 to guide and promote tourism as a leading indigenous component of the Irish economy.

The tourism and hospitality industry is of critical importance to the national economy, with tourists spending €7.8billion in Ireland and supporting 260,000 jobs.


Project Ireland 2040 – The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

Project Ireland 2040 is the Government’s overarching policy and planning framework for the social, economic and cultural development of Ireland. It includes a detailed capital investment plan for the next ten years, the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2027, and the National Planning Framework which outlines the broader policy principles and priorities in planning for future population and economic growth to 2040.