Ireland’s leading theme park wants to build a hotel. A planning application for the proposed €48 million, 250-room property at Tayto Park was lodged with Meath County Council on May 25.
The plans call for a seven-storey, 32,000 square-metre family hotel. If built, it will offer accommodation and leisure facilities, including a spa, for up to 1,000 guests. Meeting rooms, function rooms, three restaurants and two sky bars will also be included. It is estimated that the development will provide 150 jobs during construction and 272 full and part-time jobs when open. A completion date is subject to planning permission.
The hotel’s wooden construction in a parkland setting is designed to be “in keeping with the look and feel of Tayto Park”. Already there are several lodge-style buildings on site at the park in Ashbourne, County Meath (north of Dublin). The scope of the project also mirrors its operator’s ambition.
A park on a mission
Despite (or perhaps because of) being Ireland’s only theme park, Tayto Park is growing fast. Founded by former Tayto crisps (potato chips) owner Ray Coyle in 2010, the park recorded a massive leap in attendance – from 450,000 to 750,000 – when it opened a wooden rollercoaster in 2015. Last year over 10 smaller attractions were added. This had the effect of stabilising attendance, the season finishing with 765,000 visitors. By 2012, Ray Coyle has said, he hopes the park will attract as many as 1.5 million guests.
According to The Irish Times, the most recent accounts for Ashbourne Visitor Centre Ltd, which owns Tayto Park, showed that the company had a pretax profit of €5.7 million, an increase of 241% on the previous year. Plans to move to pay-one-price entry system, rather than the current mix of wristbands and tokens, should lead to a higher spend per head in the years to come. With a hotel on site, of course, Tayto Park would have the potential to become a resort theme park, increasing guest’s length of stay and spending further still.
On June 15, the Coyle family will launch Viking Voyage, a water ride by Intamin, ushering in a new era of theming for the Irish park.
Images courtesy Tayto Park and Owen Ralph