Bringing it all back home...Jimmy, Julie, Joe and Jane Comerford at the Avalon House Hotel in Castlecomer which they are developing PICTURE: PAT MOORE
A Castlecomer couple have provided their home town with a major vote of confidence.
Joe and Julie Comerford are investing €5.4 million in the Avalon House Hotel in the north Kilkenny tourism hub.
The scaffolding is up and construction has started on 39 new bedrooms. Among the facilities being built is a ballroom to cater for 250 people, making it an ideal wedding venue.
Recently, the planning application for the property negotiated its final hurdle with An Bord Pleanala paving the way for what is the most eagerly awaited development in the town for decades.
It will create between 30 and 40 new jobs, both temporary and full-time.
Project manager for the new hotel is another Castlecomer man, Seamus Brennan who said he was delighted too see such a major infrastructural investment going ahead.
He is operations manager at the Comerfords, 307 bedroom hotel in Dublin, The Academy Plaza off O'Connell Street.
The new Avalon will make 'Comer even more attractive and build on the great work done by Liz Nolan and others at the Castlecomer Discovery Park.
Last year over 110,000 people visited the attraction and with a new hotel in the town, that figure is expected to grow further.
"What this does more than anything else is give confidence to the people here," local councillor Maurice Shortall said.
"With such a significant development there will be opportunities for existing and new businesses, the challenge now is for us all to unite and pull the one string in the same direction to reap the economic dividend,” said Cllr Shortall.
“This is a game changer and a terrific local economic boost.
“The entire community owe a huge debt of gratitude to owners Joe and Julie Comerford for their commitment to the town and the brave decision to invest €5.4 million in the project. “We have suffered in terms of overnight accommodation and the 39 new beds are most welcome as is the new function room and associated jobs both in construction and service delivery,” he said.
The hotel will open in the middle of next year and will be known as the Avalon House Hotel.