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13 Feb 2020

Eden Project announces £67m attraction for Northern Ireland
BY Andy Knaggs

Eden Project Foyle will feature a range of sanctuaries and enclosures for visitors to discover, around a centrepiece building called The Acorn

Eden Project Foyle will feature a range of sanctuaries and enclosures for visitors to discover, around a centrepiece building called The Acorn
photo: Grimshaw Architects

A new £67m (US$86.9m, €79.8m) cultural and environmental Eden Project tourist attraction is to be built along the banks of the River Foyle, near Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, with organisers hoping it will help to bring social, economic and environmental regeneration to the city.

Eden Project Foyle has just been launched. It envisages a range of sanctuaries and enclosures for visitors to discover, around a centrepiece building called The Acorn, inspired by Neolithic architecture and connected with a network of walkways. The building will house performance and play areas, and will be put together with timber and thatch, giving it a light, efficient and low-carbon construction. Visitors will be able to zipwire from the roof down to the walkways.

Construction is due to begin in the next 18 months, with a target of opening in the middle of 2023. Initial concept designs have been completed by Grimshaw Architects.

The project will be owned by the Foyle River Gardens charitable trust and operated in partnership with the Eden Project. It was included in a recent deal between the UK and Irish governments aimed at restoring power-sharing to the Northern Ireland executive, and this has encouraged the participants to move forward with the plans.

Eamonn Deane, chair of the Foyle River Gardens charity, said: "Eden Project Foyle brings together a network of local partners and supporters from universities, businesses, statutory and social organisations to address issues which affect each of us. The relationship with the Eden Project has been built up over the last three years and we are delighted to be able to move this project forward together."

The project's website states that the year-round attraction could draw 400,000 visitors per year, and generate more than £62m (US$80.4m, €73.8m) for the local economy. It will open up 225 acres of previously inaccessible land and bring three historic walled gardens and an 18th-century icehouse back into use.



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