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History of Tollymore National Outdoor Centre

The Central Council for Physical Recreation (CCPR) first made outdoor training provision available from the Ballagh Cottage between 1961 and 1965. For a short period, this moved to Lord Roden’s Cottage in Bryansford. Bert Slader, who worked for the then Sports Council for Northern Ireland (now Sport Northern Ireland), proposed the development of the current site and a 50 year lease was agreed with the Department of Agriculture and work commenced at the current site in 1968.

In 1979, the Department of Education released the CCPR from the deeds and the obligation for the management of the facility was taken on by the then Sports Council for Northern Ireland Trust. In the same year, the Department of Education released £70k to fund and extension fo the building. Between 1992 and 1994, the Centre underwent a three-year phased redevelopment to modernise the facilities. The structural work was jointly funded by the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, the Department of Education for NI and the SCNI. The Centre was officiallly relaunched on the 16 November 1995.

In 1999, agreement was reached with Forest Service to extend the lease, and following discussions with the Mountaineering Council of Ireland (MCI), an area of the site adjoining the centre was subleased to MCI Climbing Wall Ltd, who obtained funding for the construction of an indoor climbing wall. Hotrock Climbing Wall was officially opened in June 2000.

In 2003, a Condition Survey of the facility was carried out, which recommended a full options appraisal for future use of the centre be commissioned. This options appraisal recommended a complete rebuild of the Centre. Work started in early 2008 and was completed by June 2010.  The Centre now stands as a state of the art facility.