A peek at what to expect from Center Parcs - Ireland's most talked about holiday destination
The cost, the location, the 220 activities. Why do so many people care about Center Parcs Ireland?
JOE recently took a trip to Longford to see one of the most talked about holiday destinations in Ireland - Center Parcs.
I’m out here at Center Parcs in Longford for @JOEdotie where things are coming along nicely, to say the least. Here’s just some of the pics from the spot. My verdict = it’s really cool. pic.twitter.com/P7scZmHQUb
— Red Wolf (@RudiKinsella) April 30, 2019
Still in the later stages of construction, Center Parcs is an undoubtedly impressive concept, and it is definitely coming along nicely. On first viewing, it's exactly what's to be expected from a project worth over €220 million.
And although we don't doubt that you've heard of it before, you may still be somewhat unsure of what to expect from the whole experience.
Center Parcs is a European network of holiday villages that has risen to popularity in the UK over the past number of years, mostly among families.
It was announced a number of years ago that they were coming to Ireland, and they have done just that, setting up near Ballymahon in Longford.
Simply put, Center Parcs is a forest resort that boasts a total of 220 activities, and can hold 2,500 people when at full capacity.
Although seemingly tailored for families, there really is something for everyone there. While a lot of the activities are targeted towards children, there's still fun to be had if you're looking to go in a small group of adults.
There's plenty of lakeside apartments, which are suited to couples looking for a romantic getaway, all of which come with a fully equipped kitchen, a television, patio furniture and a barbecue in the back garden.
But before we even discuss what it has to offer, we'll address the two things that everyone brings up whenever Center Parcs is mentioned: Why is it so expensive, and why is it in Longford?
When addressing the price, CEO Martin Dalby claimed that there was a "price point for everyone" and that you get exactly what you are paying for.
If you were to book a family getaway for two adults and two children for three nights in August, you would be paying €799 for a two-bedroom Executive Lodge. This consists of en-suite bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, private patio with outdoor furniture and housekeeping services.
But if you wanted the four-bedroom Exclusive Lodge, which features housekeeping services, luxury linens, en-suite bathrooms, a private sauna, steam room, outdoor hot tub and even your own games room with pool table and games console for the same time in August, you'd be paying a whopping €2,899.
If you were to go during the week, or in winter time, these prices would be significantly decreased, and you would still have the comfort of the genuinely gorgeous accommodation.
However, these prices don't include a lot of the activities that could be essential to your trip. Indoor activities include bowling and mini-golf, while outdoor activities include soccer tournaments, yoga, archery, ziplining, and more.
What does come free with your fee, however, is the massive swimming pool, which is still in construction, but it still looked incredibly impressive when JOE encountered it in late April, and it will surely be the most popular thing about the place.
Heated year-round, and full of fun slides and games, you'll struggle to get your kids out of the place.
The reasoning behind it being in Longford is actually quite simple - it's extremely central. Dalby said that the Longford forest site was their "first choice" because of the location.
Another interesting aspect of the whole project is the emphasis on safety.
Because everyone is urged to feel completely comfortable, there are no cars allowed on the complex. Once you arrive, you park your car, and there's no need to drive it again until you leave.
You are provided with bikes to get around the massive area, which, as well as the activities, features 10 restaurants, and a number of bars that stay open until 2am.
As cool as the whole thing is, there's also the positive development of the employment Center Parcs has brought to the area. The ongoing construction work has employed hundreds of people for the past number of years, and the actual opening of the park itself will do the same for a number of young people in Longford.
A "slide tester" was the best job JOE learned about in our time at Center Parcs, and we can only imagine that lucky employee is the envy of all his friends working in a bar this summer. Who needs a J1?
All in all, despite the talk of the price and the location, Center Parcs looks like it will be a massive hit with families all-year round.
Center Parcs is now taking bookings for the month of August on its website, and an official launch date is expected shortly.