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Howth Castle Development – Plans lodged for €10m investment

Howth Castle Development
Howth Castle Development

Plans lodged for €10m investment to restore Howth Castle to former glory

  • Tetrarch and the Michael J Wright Group to enter into 25-year lease
  • Plan to create a major visitor and tourist destination
  • 150 jobs expected once scheme is completed and 100 jobs during construction

Tetrarch Capital and the Michael J Wright Group today announced their partnership to restore Howth Castle to create a major leisure, food, and retail experience and to secure its future for generations to come. A joint planning application has been lodged with Fingal County Council for a €10m redevelopment of the Castle and its grounds, with major conservation and restoration works planned to convert the Castle into a key tourist destination.

Local hospitality business the Michael J Wright Group is taking a 25-year lease over the Castle and plans to deliver a mix of retail, leisure and food outlets. The redevelopment will include a new 150-seat restaurant in a striking glass-covered pavilion within the Castle’s stable yard, a revamped cookery school together with a gin making school, and a range of retail stores.

Amenities within the Castle grounds and historic walled gardens will include picnic and play areas, a falconry and petting farm, and a new garden centre. The National Transport Museum will remain in the heart of the new development, whilst a 150-seater marquee will be located to the South of the Castle.

Over 150 new jobs will be created when the redevelopment is completed, with 100 jobs during the construction phase.

The Michael J Wright Group’s founder and owner is Howth native Michael Wright who is committed to maximising the use of locally sourced specialty foods and other ingredients. Michael is the owner of several well-known local venues including Wrights Findlater Howth and the Bloody Stream pub. The Group also operates a number of other establishments around Dublin in Castleknock, Malahide and Swords, including the FAB award-winning Marqette Foodhall in Dublin Airport, Terminal 1. He has recently opened the all new Foodhall at The Village in UCD. The Group is the largest hospitality operator in North Dublin.

The restored Castle will provide a focal point for locals and visitors to Howth Estate. Tetrarch has plans for 6km of internal walks and cycleways through the Estate with the aim of linking Sutton & Howth to further encourage active travel in Fingal. Biodiversity and sustainability will inform the redevelopment plans, with full pedestrianisation around the Castle and promotion of the Dublin Bay Biosphere and Sustainable Development Goals.

Tetrarch acquired the Castle and surrounding 472 acres of land together with Ireland’s Eye from the Gaisford-St Lawrence family in 2019, making a commitment to protect and enhance the heritage and natural beauty of Howth Estate. The proposal, if approved by Fingal County Council, will secure a programme of investment to restore the Castle’s structure and the surrounding gardens and grounds to their former glory.

Tetrarch hired conservation architects Molloy Associates to carefully consider the Castle’s history and assist award-winning Darmody Architecture with a design and plans that will maintain the integrity of the buildings whilst supporting a commercially viable future use.

Michael McElligott, Chief Executive of of Tetrarch said:

“The unique history of Howth Castle is central to our ambition to create a very high-quality tourist and leisure destination for the Estate. Our approach will provide access to the Castle, its stableyard, walled gardens and grounds and an array of new amenities. Greenways and parklands will form an integral part of the Estate’s future, which will have sustainability and environmental best practice at its core.”

Michael Wright, Howth local and Chief Executive of the Michael J Wright Group said:

“I am passionate about Howth Castle and its redevelopment. Our vision is to further enhance Howth as a tourism destination through the redevelopment of Howth Castle into a unique food, leisure and retail experience, whilst ensuring the setting and character of its protected structures are maintained and enhanced. I am working closely with Tetrarch to ensure the integrity of the Castle is improved and preserved. The stunning backdrop of the Castle and Howth Head, combined with the array of amenities we are planning, means we expect this to become a key destination on any tourist’s travel plans and to provide a regular social outing spot for the great many locals whose support our Group has enjoyed for years. Travelling to Howth Castle by public transport, bike, boat or on foot will be encouraged.”

Tim Darmody of Darmody Architecture said:

“We are extremely excited to have been retained to work on this project to restore Howth Castle, with a brief to ensure its historical integrity, sensitively restore its structures, enhance its protected views, and deliver on the exceptional promise of a collection of historic buildings. We have used a design approach that will reverse the toll time has taken on the Castle, whilst delivering spaces capable of hosting an exciting range of new amenities and offerings, employing an approach that is supportive of increasing accessibility across the Estate.”

Howth Castle & Demesne was owned by the Gaisford-St Lawrence family for over 840 years. In addition to the stunning Howth Castle, the Estate encompasses over 470 acres of walled gardens, parkland, woodland, golf courses and world-renowned Rhododendron Gardens. The Estate has sweeping views over Dublin Bay, Howth Harbour, the Irish Sea and Ireland’s Eye.

Howth Castle has its origins in medieval times with the victory of Almeric, the first Lord of Howth, in the Battle of the Bridge of Evora in 1177. The earliest remaining parts of the current structure date from the mid-15th Century, however the building that stands today was largely constructed in 1738, with further additions by the great English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1911.

For further information please contact:

About Tetrarch 

Tetrarch is one of the leading real estate investment and development platforms in Ireland with a diverse portfolio of investments and assets under management that includes Howth Estate, Mount Juliet Estate, Citywest Hotel and Convention Centre and over 500,000 sq ft of offices and aparthotels in Dublin city centre.

About the Michael J Wright Group

First established in 1996, The Group now employs over 500 people, and operates award-winning food halls, restaurants and bars in Dublin. Each of the venues have their own unique personality with tailor-made menus using the best of local Irish ingredients. The ethos at the heart of the Group is disrupting norms, breaking boundaries and creating unique experiences.

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