Another adventure centre closes over 100% insurance premium hike

An estimated 150,000 people have enjoyed activities such as wall-climbing, zip-lining and archery at the 15-year old centre, which employs 20 seasonal jobs.

Another adventure centre closes over 100% insurance premium hike

Rising insurance costs have closed yet another Irish centre but owners are determined to make the best of the situation by diversifying.

Loughcrew Adventure Centre, outside Oldcastle, Co Meath, was forced to close earlier today because of a 100% insurance premium hike from €20,000 to €40,000.

An estimated 150,000 people have enjoyed activities such as wall-climbing, zip-lining and archery at the 15-year old centre, which employs 20 seasonal jobs.

A last-minute threat to also close the Loughcrew Estate, house and manicured gardens was averted when owner Emily Napier managed to secure public liability insurance for those facilities through an Irish broker.

Loughcrew Estate is the ancestral home of St Oliver Plunkett and beside the megalithic cairns.

However while Emily is saddened to have to close the centre, she is now focussing on the future and developing the estate for retreats and children's escapes.

Loughcrew Adventure Centre
Loughcrew Adventure Centre

"I've spent the last three months battling to keep Loughcrew open," she said.

"No-one would insure me. Only two weeks ago, I managed to get a broker to get me public liability insurance of €19,000 and further insurance on the house for €3,500.

"Despite my best efforts, however, I could only get a quote for the Adventure Centre which was 100% more than last year. I could not afford €40,000 and have had to close it earlier today.

I actually started the adventure centre initially to give children confidence to climb but have now decided to focus on what I have and give children confidence in a new way.

"I'm taking the thrill out of the air and onto the ground to create magical gardens with stories at every turn.

"I'm going to use the wood from the closed activities to create escapes and havens where children can have fun with their own imaginations. I'm also going to turn the gardens into venues for retreats and mindful events for adults.

"Already street artist Ciara McKenna has left some of her work after calling this place inspiring and I know others will feel like that too.

"In August, 2,500 people came for our fairy festival and first children's opera so we are going to build on that. We have to. No-one else is going to help us earn a living, certainly not the Government in tackling this insurance crisis."

A post on Facebook announcing the centre's closure has generated a lot of feedback from people saddened to hear of its demise.

Just last Sunday, Rathbeggan Lakes near Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath, closed its doors after 21 years because owner Dave Robinson was unable to afford the 100% insurance hike to €40,000

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