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New visitor facilities launched at Emo Court and Parklands ahead of summer season

Emo Court launch

On a day of great excitement at Emo Court and Parklands on Saturday, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Patrick O’Donovan officially launched a suite of new visitor facilities.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has invested significantly in Emo Court, delivering on its ambition to place the James Gandon neo-classical architecture firmly on the map of Irish and foreign visitors.

The new visitor hub, picnic area, new car park, improved path network, improvements to the lake, and the renovated Walled Garden provide the frame for an enhanced and enjoyable experience from the moment visitors arrive on site.

“The new amenities also allow the OPW to offer visitors and the local community a noteworthy calendar of events that promises entertainment for all tastes throughout the summer, which includes – in addition to the athletic competition held there today – theatre, musical, contemporary art exhibitions and recitals in different locations on the estate,” said a statement from the OPW.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Minister O’Donovan said: “The completion of a whole range of new facilities in the grounds of Emo Court is a great milestone in preserving and enhancing this special place.

“Today is an excellent showcase of how this site is thriving as a destination from the strategic investments we have made and, in turn, benefitting the local community and businesses.

“People from all corners of Ireland have come here to either watch or actively participate in the major athletic competition organised by Emo GAA Club and Laois Chamber of Commerce, local businesses are taking the opportunity to display their products and services, and families are enjoying a great day out that takes in everything Emo Court and Parklands have to offer.”

He continued: “Of course, our work here continues and the next phase will tackle the restoration of the roof.

“Although it is only in the preliminary stages, once completed, it will be another important step towards protecting the historic main house for future generations.”

Emo Court launch

Emo Court launch
Amy Cummins from Ballyroan as she enjoyed a picnic with her children Grace (11) Ruby (9) and Robert (5) and Minister Patrick Donovan at Emo Court

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.