Major festival planned for Loftus Hall's 666 years
THE owner of Loftus Hall has revealed plans to open a multi lingual centre on site to increase visitor numbers from abroad and for a major festival next summer to mark 666 years since the spooky residence was built.
Aidan Quigley said the Raymond Le Gros Festival will be expanded upon next year and could attract thousands of people into the area, following on from the success of this year's inaugural event.
Loftus Hall has witnessed a 6 per cent increase in visitors this year in comparison with the same period of 2014.
Mr Quigley said there are plans for a 1,200 sq ft gallery area.
'We are setting ourselves up for the foreign market. We plan to open a visitor centre. The plans are still very much in their infancy but we have a space here between the cafe and the main house which can be used as a gallery. It used to be the kitchen in the old hotel.'
Mr Quigley said the new centre would have a push button option to enable visitors to pick a particular era in the house's rich history and a certain language.
'We are taking some of our top tour guides to Wales and Normandy this winter to film on location and trace the Raymond Le Gros story and his journey between Wales, France and Ireland. It will be great for French visitors to trace the story back to France. We will use a cartographer's map, which will be in HD, to show the castles, William Marshall's house etc. It personalises the story and makes a connection there.'
Mr Quigley is studying in England and pays regular visits to Chepstow Castle.
'There is a Tintern Abbey nearby. The people who run the castle asked me why I came there. I told them that we have a Tintern Abbey also so there are links everywhere.'
The spooky tourist attraction has 40,000 visitors each year and business is growing.
'Business is very steady. People come during the summer and around Hallowe'en. We are worknig within a very traditional market but there is huge potential. You also see the individual customer coming especially to see us. It's very good to hear that the house is the reason they have travelled to the county as you know you're doing something right and its bringing people into the area.'
From now on Loftus Hall will only be open on weekends and will close in November, reopening at Easter.
'What has really taken off this year are the paranormal lock downs which happen about once a month. Irish Ghost Hunters - Ireland's leading paranormal investigation team - take people around the house and access the top floor. With Hallowe'en coming we will have a special tour for different age groups from children, through to teenagers and adults, which sell out quickly.'
To book one of the tours people can log on to www.loftushall.ie