Waterford’s Mount Congreve Gardens shortlisted for prestigious Building and Design Award

In what has been a phenomenal start to 2024, Mount Congreve Gardens has been shortlisted for the Irish Building and Design Awards (IBDA).  The awards celebrate the best of Irish building and design around the world and are recognised as best in class, both nationally and internationally. Judged by peer industry associations and groups, the IBDAs recognise excellence in build, design, people, and creativity.

Mount Congreve Gardens is shortlisted in the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Project of the year category, along with the National Surf Centre of Excellence, Achill Island Greenway, The Exchange, the Royal Dublin Convention Centre and the Premier Inn Hotel.

Mount Congreve Gardens has garnered much national and international attention since the newly refurbished house and gardens opened to the public last year. 

It clinched the top title in the Supporting Tourism category at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government awards, the prestigious international travel publication Condé Nast Traveller made specific reference to Mount Congreve Gardens in their ‘Best Place To Go in the UK & Ireland’ 2024 listing, while the New York Times, when including Waterford as the only Irish destination in its ‘52 Places to go in 2024’ list said, “Top off your Greenway adventure with afternoon tea amid one of Ireland’s largest collections of plants at Mount Congreve Gardens, which reopened in 2023 after a multimillion-dollar refurbishment."

Mount Congreve Gardens was officially opened to the public for the first time by Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Catherine Martin in March 2023, following a €7.2 million capital investment from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF), Waterford City and County Council and Fáilte Ireland. 

Mount Congreve Gardens have long been recognised as ‘One of the Great Gardens of the World’, with its extensive collections and displays of exotic plants from all over the globe.

Following the death of the garden’s creator Mr. Ambrose Congreve in 2011 and transfer of the estate and gardens to a trust consisting of Mount Congreve Estate and Waterford City and County Council, an investment plan was developed with the aim of ‘reinvigorating’ them to increase visitor numbers and to ensure that the gardens retain their worldwide reputation and fame for future generations.

Paul Flynn, Executive Engineer with Waterford City and County Council explained, “A carefully designed and constructed retail, café and visitor centre have been sympathetically incorporated into an existing courtyard. In parallel, improvements to the gardens, its paths and boundaries were carried out including improved wayfinding, refurbishment of the various garden ‘Follies’ and an audio-visual presentation giving the historic narrative of the house, gardens and owner.” 

Paul added, “The program of investment has met and exceeded its economic and visitor number targets.  The broader rural economy is also benefiting. The gardens have added to the synergies of two of Waterford’s other major attractions, Waterford Greenway and the Waterford Suir Valley Railway, which border Mount Congreve Estate.”

Sara Dolan, Commercial Director at Mount Congreve Trust said, “We are delighted to have made the shortlist for such an influential design award.  The response to the reinvigorated Mount Congreve Gardens has been phenomenal, not just in terms of national and international recognition, but the feedback from the public has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The fact that locals, visitors and tourists can now experience for themselves the wonder of Ambrose Congreve’s legacy in such urbane surroundings is to be welcomed.”

The IBDA awards ceremony will take place in Ballsbridge in Dublin on March 8th.