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Celtworld facts for kids

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Location Tramore, County Waterford
Operated by Celtworld Limited
Opened May 1992
Closed September 1995
Total 1

Celtworld was an educational amusement park, heritage interpretation centre, and tourist attraction in Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland. It operated from 1992 to 1995 before closing due to financial difficulties.



Celtworld's main feature was a 25-minute show which involved a revolving auditorium, the largest such theatre in Europe at that time. Visual effects included animated artwork, computer-generated imagery, lasers, holograms, and animatronics. The theatre was presented as a "Crystal Time Chamber" which allowed visitors to travel back to Celtic times. Every turn of the revolving theatre brought visitors to 1 of 6 presentations, which involved a range of mythical and legendary characters such as a daughter of Noah, Tuatha Dé Danann, Fomorians, Partholón, Lugh, Balor, and Cú Chulainn. The experience was narrated by Tuan mac Cairill. Historical figures such as vikings and Saint Patrick were also included.

  • Presentation 1 – Cessair and Fir Bolg from Lebor Gabála Érenn
  • Presentation 2 – Fir Bolg fighting Tuatha Dé Danann
  • Presentation 3 – Battle between Lugh and Balor
  • Presentation 4 – The childhood of Cú Chulainn
  • Presentation 5 – Táin Bó Cúailnge
  • Presentation 6 – Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Fianna


After the theatre show, visitors entered the interactive Celtic Otherworld exhibition. This area included quizzes, information on women in Irish mythology, ogham stones, Aos Sí, an £18,000 replica Book of Kells, and an artificial tree with talking animatronic human heads. The exit was via a gift shop.


Celtworld experienced early trading difficulties and a financial consultant was appointed to review the company. 270,000 people were expected to attend each year but the project attracted less than 50% of its target. It received a loan from Bord Fáilte in late 1993 but business did not improve. Celtworld closed in September 1995 with losses of over £4 million. More than £2 million had been spent on set-up, promotion, and consultancy fees. The centre's failure has been attributed in part to its unchanging audiovisual presentations, which failed to attract adequate repeat visitors. Bord Fáilte Director General Matt McNulty claimed that the project's failure was due to its design as a wet-weather facility. Its opening season saw unseasonably warm, dry weather which led to low attendance.

Its failure led to discussion in Dáil Éireann, the Irish parliament, where Kathleen Lynch questioned the then Minister for Tourism and Trade, Enda Kenny about its closure. Bobby Molloy also questioned Kenny over the closure and allegations which had been made on the RTÉ One current affairs television shows Prime Time and Marketplace.


The property was placed on the market with the condition that it could only be used for tourism or leisure activities, which limited its potential sale price. The site went on sale in September 1995 at an asking price of £600,000 and was sold to a Northern Ireland consortium in January 1996 for £475,000. In 1997, the site was sold to Butlin's Mosney owner Phelim McCloskey for £380,000. McCloskey developed a robotic dinosaurs exhibit which closed after less than a year.

A European Commission investigation was due to report in 1997 but as of 1999 had not been completed. In 1999, McCloskey obtained planning permission for 30 short-term holiday apartments on the site. Permission was granted by An Bord Pleanála, controversially over-ruling a Waterford County Council decision to reject an original proposal for 36 apartments. In 2000, Ambient Catering Limited purchased the site and developed a 20,000 square feet music venue named South with a capacity of 2,200 guests, at a cost of €3 million. The venue opened in 2001 but closed soon afterwards. Celtworld Limited was dissolved on 15 July 2005.

The site was sold in May 2006 to Volute Properties Limited, who received planning permission for a mixed-use development with Dunnes Stores as anchor tenants. This proposal fell through and the building was demolished in 2008. By 2020, it had been redeveloped as an Aldi supermarket.

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