Seamus Walsh and his sister Bernadette Walsh (Sales & Marketing Manager at Waterford Castle) said that the hotel will also be very open to locals when it comes to weddings, nights out and dining.
“We hope we’re going to give people the opportunity to re-live past Ard Rí experiences through this redevelopment” said Bernadette.
Christmas and New Year’s Eve shall be big events at the Ard Rí – with a fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve among the initial ideas given the location.
Seamus is committed to developing a “quality dining experience” with an emphasis on paddock to plate local foods.
Along with the shuttle bus, a link to the new train station at the North Quay is also envisaged, while the pedestrian footbridge should also prove advantageous upon delivery.
Waterford needs more iconic attractions, said Seamus, who cited the House of Waterford Crystal and the museum attractions of the city centre as tremendous additions. He has also committed to installing Waterford Crystal chandeliers in the redeveloped hotel.
The Ard Rí, last run by the McEniffs, closed over a decade ago, before it was acquired by Cork developer Tom Coughlan who had major plans for a conference centre before the recession took its toll.
News that the hotel shall retain its traditional name will no doubt be welcomed, and Seamus said that no hotel franchise is being considered “just yet”.
Hosting conferences could be a strong growth area for the re-opened hotel, said the site’s new owner; the lack of suitable city centre conference space being an issue we have reported on frequently in these pages.
A stage/performance area is also being considered for such a space, which may prove useful for local school and community group performances/events.
As a young man from Mullinavat, Seamus can recall many good nights ‘up’ in the Ard Rí and he believes that population growth in the city will come in tandem with fresh investment.
Anyone seeking work at the new Ard Rí should up skill in the interim, as Seamus is keen to have as many locals working there as possible.
“I’m looking forward to working with the tourism sector to make Waterford and the south east a bigger and more popular destination,” he concluded.