What will Longford’s Center Parcs be like when completed?

There will be over 500 lodges and apartments and a glass-roofed swimming complex

The Center Parcs village will be the biggest private tourism development in the State.

The Center Parcs village will be the biggest private tourism development in the State.

 

When it is full of families a few years from now Longford’s Center Parcs will boost the population of the county by over 10 per cent and more people will “live” there than in towns such as Edgeworthstown and Ballymahon.

While the county’s towns grew over many centuries and have at their core churches, GAA pitches, community halls and pubs, its latest “village” will be fully formed in just three years and have as its beating heart a “sub-tropical swimming paradise “.

Paradise - in the eyes of Centre Parcs at any rate - will come in the form of a glass-roofed swimming complex heated to just under 30 degrees with all manner of water slides leading into pools not quite big enough to swim lengths.

When the Centre Parcs citizens are not flying down flumes they will pass the days firing bows and arrows and fencing and 100 other less medieval indoor and outdoor activities.

In the unlikely event that they run out of things to do, there will be shops on site to while away a few hours and all manner of cafes, ice cream parlors and restaurants to keep everyone fed and watered.

Happy families will be able to rent bikes to cycle to all the Parc’s points of interest from their homes which will range frostandard two-beds to the high end suites, with games rooms, hot tubs and saunas as standard.

There will be 470 lodges, 30 apartments and a smattering of tree-houses tastefully positioned in forests used to cultivate the impression that all guests have escaped the 21st century’s concrete jungles and found refuge in a great green wilderness.

Admittedly the wilderness will be populated by thousands of shrieking children and parents most likely stressed out by the dwindling pile of cash in their wallets.

Because virtually everything to be done at a Centre Parcs resort is going to have to be added to the accomodation costs and if people don’t do the activities there will be precious little to keep them entertained.

According to the company behind the biggest private tourism development in the State, families tend to spend as much on activities, food and drink as they do on accommodation.

So how much will a week in Centre Parcs cost when it opens? Obviously it is early days and the operation is a long way from taking bookings for its Irish site but some hint of the costs can be gleaned from a look at any one of its five UK arms.

Seven nights in a two-bed woodland lodge in Sherwood Forest in the middle of August costs £1828 or just under €2,200. Add 10 per cent for inflation between now and 2019 plus another 10 per cent for the “Being Irish Tax” and a family of four could be quite easily looking at a total charge for a week of in excess of €2,500.

And if the operator’s own claims are to be believed, a further €2,500 would be added to the final bill when all the activities and food and drink are paid for.

A family anxious to go more upmarket and really push the boat in Sherwood Forest could, instead opt for a 4-Bedroom “Exclusive Games Lodge”.

“Savour the little luxuries on hand, including a daily maid service, TV in every bedroom and a private spa with sauna, steam room and an outdoor hot tub,” the Centre Parcs site says. “It’s the perfect place to unwind after a busy day.”

And the cost? A week in the middle of August will set someone back £5,498 or €6576. Add the cost of activities and the price starts to nudge €9,000.

Nine grand... for a week in Longford. Who would have thought it.