A planning application to enhance and redevelop the Abbey Grounds, Wicklow, into the Abbey Gardens and event space was passed unanimously by the members of Wicklow Municipal District at their meeting held on Monday (Dec 20).

Wicklow County Council was awarded €500,000 Destination Town Funding from Fáilte Ireland to restore the garden, in tandem with maximising the usability of the entire site as a multi-functional public amenity and outdoor events venue.

The project will greatly enhance the visitor experience in Wicklow and provide a high-quality amenity and heritage asset that will provide a welcome focus for visitors and locals, including:

Conversion of the Coach House to a café/exhibition space and public toilets
Provision of an outdoor performance area/multi use space
Universal access and increased pedestrian circulation routes throughout
Public seating
Enhanced biodiversity consisting of high quality and attractive planting in keeping with the historical context of the site and landscape
Heritage interpretation and orientation
Provision of appropriate backlighting of the Abbey Ruins

Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Shay Cullen, said: “I’m delighted that the members of Wicklow Municipal District voted unanimously to approve the Part 8 application in respect of this fantastic project. The Abbey Grounds public amenity will complement the recent Fitzwilliam Square and Market Square developments and is another step in the regeneration of our County Town.”

Cathaoirleach of Wicklow Municipal District, Cllr Gail Dunne, added “this is a positive finish to the year for Wicklow Town, the Abbey Grounds is the perfect setting for outdoor events and theatre and exactly what Wicklow needs, the entire town will benefit both socially and economically”.

Mr Frank Curran, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, acknowledged the assistance and support of Fr Donal Roche in helping to get the project to this stage of the process and also commented that “this is really exciting news for Wicklow Town and entire county and the implementation of the project in 2022 will have a positive impact on our local economy and tourism industry. I would also like to acknowledge Fáilte Ireland’s financial assistance towards this innovative development.”