Wicklow studio tables €90m expansion plans


Ashford Studios, the venue in Wicklow where the successful Vikings TV series is partly shot, has re-submitted plans to Wicklow County Council for a €90m expansion plan including the construction of four additional film studios, a TV-production studio and support offices.

The development is due to create 1,500 jobs in the growing sector.

These plans include a visitor centre which hopes to attract 100,000 visitors per year.

Original plans submitted last year were withdrawn after the local authority sought further information.

Ashford is owned by entrepreneur, Joe O’Connell who also runs a successful manufacturing business in China.

He has previously stated that he is prepared to personally fund the studio's expansion - as he did with the original €25m development.

This comes at a time when Irish studios are struggling to keep up with increased demand to film here - production activity in Ireland surpassed €250m for the first time last year.

Ashford has an obvious competitor in Bray's Ardmore Studios - it is developing its own new facility, Troy Studios in Limerick.

"Amazon, Netflix and all the networks all need space for their growing TV and film production work. Other countries are fighting to do the same as us, including Northern Ireland and our neighbours, so there's always that competition," Mr O’Connell previously said commenting on the expansion plans last year.

"There is a risk involved, but I'm more confident about this than I was with the first phase. We've got to remain competitive, but the success of Vikings - which will film its fifth season here this summer - proves we can do that," he continued.

JosephConroy, Newstalk.com

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