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Waterford’s Mount Congreve Gardens picks up prestigious Building and Design Award

On Friday, March 8th Mount Congreve Gardens was recognised as winner at the Irish Building and Design Awards (IBDA) in the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Project of the year category.

The awards ceremony at the Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge was a celebration of the best of Irish building and design around the world, recognising best in class, both nationally and internationally.

Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Conway attended the awards and said, “This is yet more wonderful recognition for the work and vision of Waterford City and County Council, Fáilte Ireland and Mount Congreve Trust, for reinvigorating and breathing life back into ‘one of the great gardens of the world’.

“The gardens, which reopened to the public just over a year ago, have exponentially benefitted the local community and Waterford as a whole.  Visitor numbers have been exceeded in the first year alone, and Waterford Greenway and Waterford Suir Valley Railway, both of which border Mount Congreve Estate have undoubtedly experienced an uplift in visitor numbers too.”

Mount Congreve Gardens was officially opened by Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Catherine Martin in March 2023, following a €7.2 million capital investment from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF), Waterford City and County Council and Fáilte Ireland.

Mount Congreve Gardens is currently enjoying considerable national and international attention since the newly refurbished house and gardens opened last year.

It clinched the top title in the Supporting Tourism category at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government awards, the prestigious international travel publication Condé Nast Traveller made specific reference to Mount Congreve Gardens in their ‘Best Place To Go in the UK & Ireland’ 2024 listing, while the New York Times, when including Waterford as the only Irish destination in its ‘52 Places to go in 2024’ list cited the gardens as the place to ‘top off your Greenway adventure’.

Ray Sinnott, Estate Manager with Mount Congreve Gardens was delighted to receive the award along with the Mayor of Waterford City and County and Paul Flynn, Executive Engineer with Waterford City and County Council, saying, “We are truly delighted to receive this IBDA accolade.  The work to bring the estate to such a high international standard has taken many years of commitment, resolve and dedication.  To be recognised by peers makes it even more special for everyone involved.”

The award recognised the transformation of the Mount Congreve Gardens which underwent an extensive renovation which included a carefully designed and constructed retail, café and visitor centre incorporated into the existing courtyard. In addition, improvements to the gardens, its paths and boundaries were carried out to include improved wayfinding, refurbishment of the various garden ‘Follies’ and an audio-visual presentation giving the historic narrative of the house, gardens and owner.

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Paul Flynn Waterford City and County Council, Peter Bluett of Bluett & O’Donoghue Archtitects, Ray Sinnott Mount Congreve, Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Conway, Robert Fox of Frank Fox & Associates, Shane McCullough of McCullough Lupton Quinn and Sandra Conway.

Waterford’s Mount Congreve Gardens shortlisted for prestigious Building and Design Award

 

In what has been a phenomenal start to 2024, Mount Congreve Gardens has been shortlisted for the Irish Building and Design Awards (IBDA).  The awards celebrate the best of Irish building and design around the world and are recognised as best in class, both nationally and internationally. Judged by peer industry associations and groups, the IBDAs recognise excellence in build, design, people, and creativity.

Mount Congreve Gardens is shortlisted in the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Project of the year category, along with the National Surf Centre of Excellence, Achill Island Greenway, The Exchange, the Royal Dublin Convention Centre and the Premier Inn Hotel.

Mount Congreve Gardens has garnered much national and international attention since the newly refurbished house and gardens opened to the public last year.

It clinched the top title in the Supporting Tourism category at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government awards, the prestigious international travel publication Condé Nast Traveller made specific reference to Mount Congreve Gardens in their ‘Best Place To Go in the UK & Ireland’ 2024 listing, while the New York Times, when including Waterford as the only Irish destination in its ‘52 Places to go in 2024’ list said, “Top off your Greenway adventure with afternoon tea amid one of Ireland’s largest collections of plants at Mount Congreve Gardens, which reopened in 2023 after a multimillion-dollar refurbishment.”

Mount Congreve Gardens was officially opened to the public for the first time by Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Catherine Martin in March 2023, following a €7.2 million capital investment from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF), Waterford City and County Council and Fáilte Ireland.

Mount Congreve Gardens have long been recognised as ‘One of the Great Gardens of the World’, with its extensive collections and displays of exotic plants from all over the globe.

Following the death of the garden’s creator Mr. Ambrose Congreve in 2011 and transfer of the estate and gardens to a trust consisting of Mount Congreve Estate and Waterford City and County Council, an investment plan was developed with the aim of ‘reinvigorating’ them to increase visitor numbers and to ensure that the gardens retain their worldwide reputation and fame for future generations.

Paul Flynn, Executive Engineer with Waterford City and County Council explained, “A carefully designed and constructed retail, café and visitor centre have been sympathetically incorporated into an existing courtyard. In parallel, improvements to the gardens, its paths and boundaries were carried out including improved wayfinding, refurbishment of the various garden ‘Follies’ and an audio-visual presentation giving the historic narrative of the house, gardens and owner.”

Paul added, “The program of investment has met and exceeded its economic and visitor number targets.  The broader rural economy is also benefiting. The gardens have added to the synergies of two of Waterford’s other major attractions, Waterford Greenway and the Waterford Suir Valley Railway, which border Mount Congreve Estate.”

Sara Dolan, Commercial Director at Mount Congreve Trust said, “We are delighted to have made the shortlist for such an influential design award.  The response to the reinvigorated Mount Congreve Gardens has been phenomenal, not just in terms of national and international recognition, but the feedback from the public has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The fact that locals, visitors and tourists can now experience for themselves the wonder of Ambrose Congreve’s legacy in such urbane surroundings is to be welcomed.”

The IBDA awards ceremony will take place in Ballsbridge in Dublin on March 8th.

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Mount Congreve Gardens listed by Conde Nast Traveller in their ‘Best Place To Go’ 2024

The prestigious international travel magazine ‘Conde Nast Traveller’ has zoned in on Mount Congreve for their ‘Best Place To Go in the UK & Ireland’ 2024 listing.

Conde Nast says of the list, “At the end of each year, we look ahead to what’s coming next in the travel world as we pick out the top destinations we’d recommend to our fellow globetrotters for the following 12 months. Our expert contributors nominate the destinations that are on the up right now. These nominations make up the Best Places To Go in 2024, in which we shine a light on the places that are due their moment in the sun.”

They go on to say, “This list is an edit of the regions, cities and neighbourhoods in the UK and Ireland that are worthy of your time and attention in the next 12 months. All 12 destinations are places we’re excited about recommending for your 2024 plans – 12 spots that should be on your radar when it comes to plotting your all-important annual leave, and which will hopefully remind you that some of the most beautiful places in the world are right here on home turf. Happy travels.”

Of the 12 places on the list ‘Waterford & Wexford’ are cited together as a Southeast travel destination. It is the only Irish inclusion.

The listing details the newly refurbished Loftus Hall and its imminent opening, the oldest intact operating lighthouse in the world – Hook Lighthouse, Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore and the delicious seafood at The Beach House in Tramore and the magnificent Mount Congreve House and Gardens.

Conde Nast contributor Aoife O’Riordan says, “Hop over the border to County Waterford and the recently restored Mount Congreve House, another palatial pile, overlooking the River Suir with dreamy gardens and a café run by The Pantry at CLIFF, a spin-off of Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore. When the gates close, you will have the gardens all to yourself if you bed down at Mount Congreve’s fairytale gate lodge, which is available to rent, and the Waterford Greenway, an off-road hiking and biking trail along a disused railway line between Waterford City and Dungarvan, passes right by the edge of the estate.”

Sara Dolan, Commercial Director at Mount Congreve Trust says, “We are absolutely thrilled to be listed in the Conde Nast top 2024 recommendations. We know that this guide and any list they produce is very discerning, so it is a dream come true to be selected and featured, especially in the first year of our opening.

All of the team at Mount Congreve have worked very hard to achieve and deliver a very high standard of hospitality right across the gardens, the café, the house, the gate lodge and for our events so it is a wonderful acknowledgement of their hard work.

We have some more very exciting plans and further estate developments planned for 2024, so we won’t be sitting on the garden laurels but moving on and pushing ahead to achieve even more in year two of the new chapter of the estate.”

Earlier this month Mount Congreve Gardens also won the ‘Best Visitor Attraction’ as the Georgina Campbell Awards and Mount Congreve Gardens has been selected as a winner in the 2023 World Garden Awards, the presentation of this award takes place next week.

Mount Congreve House was officially opened to the public earlier this year, following capital funding from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund, Fáilte Ireland and €1.2million funding from Waterford City and County Council.

Mount Congreve Gardens along with the Stables Café and its onsite estate accommodation is open year-round. For further details see www.mountcongreve.com

The full Conde Nast list can be read here: https://www.cntraveller.com/article/best-places-to-go-in-uk-and-ireland-2024

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Waterford City & County Council win two awards at Chambers Ireland “Excellence in Local Government” Awards

Waterford City and County Council has been successful at the recent Chambers Ireland “Excellence in Local Government Awards”, with two category wins, for the Waterford Museums of Time and Silver, and Mount Congreve House and Gardens.

Waterford Museums of Time and Silver took top honours in the ‘Heritage and Built Environment’ category which celebrates best in class by a Local Authority to promote public interest in, and knowledge, appreciation and protection of local heritage sites.  The Museum of Time opened in 2021 with kind donations and support from David Boles, Colman Curran and Liz Clooney, and is the only museum dedicated to horology and timekeeping on the island of Ireland.  The Irish Silver Museum also opened its doors in 2021 in the old Deanery Building on Cathedral Square, Waterford with benefactors Noel and Stephanie Frisby generously donating to its establishment and displays.

Mount Congreve House and Gardens, lauded as ‘One of the Great Gardens of the World’, clinched the title, amid stiff competition, in the ‘Supporting Tourism’ category. This award highlights the efforts of Waterford City and County Council in enriching local tourism and encouraging community appreciation of regional attractions.

The transformative investment in Mount Congreve House and Gardens has resulted in a world-class visitor experience, as well as a café, and retail offering. The estate also boasts a variety of walking paths, each adorned with creative displays that vividly narrate its long history.

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway said the recognition by Chambers Ireland was a great endorsement of the projects and the Local Authority’s investment in them.  He praised the Council’s commitment to initiating and advancing such exceptional initiatives, saying:

“I am delighted to see Waterford City and County Council recognised on a national platform for their commitment in initiating and driving such wonderful projects.  Both Mount Congreve and The Museums of Time and Silver are very deserving winners in their respective categories.  Waterford has an enviable tourism offering, and it is great to see the work of our Council endorsed in the wider community in such a positive way.

Waterford City and County Council’s strong performance at the awards was also highlighted by four other shortlisted projects, in a diverse range of categories.

Alongside its wins, the Council’s shortlisted projects included Tramore Town Centre Public Realm Works in the ‘Urban Revival’ category, and the proactive Ukrainian Refugee Response in the ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ category. Their innovative communication strategy was showcased in ‘A Celebration of Waterford as Ireland’s Best Place to Live’, shortlisted in the ‘Communications’ category, while the Council’s commitment to environmental sustainability was evident in the ‘Climate Change’ category with the Business Rates Waiver initiative.

Commending all the projects put forward, Director of Economic Development at Waterford City & County Council, Michael Quinn commented:

“Our diverse array of projects reflect our commitment to not only address current community needs but also to proactively shape a sustainable future for Waterford. Each project, regardless of its category here tonight, is a step towards our vision of an inclusive, dynamic, and environmentally conscious city and county.”

The Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards are sponsored by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and took place in Dublin on November 23rd.

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LEO Waterford hosts networking event for clients at Mount Congreve

The Local Enterprise Office Waterford held a networking event for its clients recently at Mount Congreve Garden on Thursday December 15th. The purpose of the event was to celebrate grant recipients in 2022.

One of the many business services the Local Enterprise Office makes available is the allocation of Priming Grants, a business start-up grant available to micro-enterprises within the first 18 months of start-up. Expenditure is considered for capital items, salary costs, general overhead costs and innovation / marketing costs.

Jacqui Gaule, Acting Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Waterford explained the importance of the LEO, “In 2022 Local Enterprise Office Waterford continued to provide a range of supports to help small business get off the ground, overcome challenges, hire new staff, fund innovation, manage various challenges and plan for the future. The range of supports on offer from the Local Enterprise Office will help anyone seeking to start or grow a small business through highly practical services such as professional business and management training, mentoring, networking opportunities, finance and much more.”

As of 2022, the Local Enterprise Offices network supports over 38,000 jobs across over 7,000 LEO client companies all over Ireland. Since the LEOs were established in 2014 their clients have created over 18,000 jobs in small businesses across the country.

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