Tullamore joins 4-star league
The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, will visit Tullamore early in the New Year to formally open the midlands' first four-star hotel, the Tullamore Court, which opened for business at the beginning of this month.
The 72-bedroom hotel incorporates a conference and leisure centre, cost £8 million to build and will employ 65 full-time staff.
The brainchild of a local businessman, Mr John Flanagan, the project is expected to contribute upwards of £3 million annually to the local economy. Mr Flanagan, a well-known amateur golfer and a Fianna Fail councillor since 1985, who is managing director of the Flanagan Group, decided that tourism in Tullamore was suffering due to lack of facilities. He felt Tullamore should be able to compete with Portlaoise with its 110 bedrooms and Athlone with 166 rooms and that all kinds of developments were being held back by the absence of a top-class facility.
He said a town with a population of almost 10,000 should have such a hotel, and decided his building firm should go ahead with the project.
The hotel will seek to attract major conferences on the basis that it can provide facilities for nearly 500 people in a conference centre and is also strategically located in relation to the rest of the State.
Work has already started on another new hotel in Tullamore. The Bridge House in the centre of the town expects to have its 72-bedroom hotel ready by next Easter for the tourist season.