David and Sue Raethorne outlined their vision during a meeting, facilitated by local TD Tony McLoughlin at Leinster House where they briefed Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D. and department officials, with a restored Hazelwood House taking it’s pride of place as the centrepiece of the project.
Among the proposed plans is the establishment of a whiskey distillery business which would be developed in the old Snia/Saehan factory behind the house.
The building will also feature a whiskey visitors experience tour, a Michelin starred restaurant and number of different cafés when it opens to the public. Outdoor activities are also being planned as well as a water taxi service which will take visitors between the estate and Sligo Town. Deputy McLoughlin has described the meeting as a success and that the proposals have been warmly recieved by Minister Humphreys.
“Minister Humphreys was very impressed with scale and the audacity of the proposed development, and the fact that Hazelwood House was set to be restored once again to its former glory,” he said.
“After speaking with the new owners on a number of occasions over the last few months, I can confidently state that they are very determined people. For example, I am aware that their vision is that by 2023, Hazelwood will be attracting 200,000 visitors to Sligo per annum. This is a very exciting prospect for the people of Co. Sligo and I am looking forward to this figure becoming a reality.”
The first step in re-opening the estate takes place this weekend with the official launch of contemporary art exhibition ‘Magnetism’, which runs until September.
It is anticipated that this will be the first of many displays hosted by the estate, with special exhibits on topics of local interest such as the Spanish Armada and W.B. Yeats also in the pipeline.
For more information on Magentism, see the Entertainment section.