***While we hope this will be a reality sometime in the future, today it’s just…HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY!!!***
Europe's tallest rollercoaster is coming to the South East in radical plans to open an Elvis-inspired theme park in his ancestral home of Carlow.
Dubbed the 'Devil In The Skies' by insiders, the 460-metre high rollercoaster will be the jewel in the crown of 'Hacketland', an Irish twist on the king's beloved Graceland home.
It is understood that the plans for the 200-acre development have been underway since the passing of Lisa Marie Presley in January of this year, who wished for a fitting tribute to her father in his ancestral home at the foothills of Eagle Hill in Hacketstown, Co. Carlow.
Elvis Presley's great, great, great, great-grandfather, William Presley, fled from his home close to Eagle Hill in 1755 following a land dispute. From there he emigrated to New Orleans and later to South Carolina where his son Dunnan was born. Adding to the area's rich Elvis heritage, records show that Presleys are known to have lived in the area as recently as 1920.
Elvis' official estate is now understood to be bankrolling the $750 million development along with a private funding consortium. Beat understands that the success of Baz Lurman's recent Elvis biopic has boosted confidence among investors for a large-scale Elvis attraction outside the USA.
Adding further clout to the proposed theme park is an unconfirmed report that US president Joe Biden will officially announce the Hacketland development during his four-day visit to Ireland in April. Biden is said to resonate deeply with Elvis' Irish roots and is said that the announcement could further cement Irish-American relations.
Alongside the record-breaking rollercoaster, a 400-room 'heartbreak' hotel with Olympic sized swimming pool is in the works alongside an alpine ski route on the south face of Eagle Hill, a drop tower (All Shook Up), a pendulum ride (A Little Less Conversation) and an unspecified water slide attraction tentatively titled Kentucky Rain.
The proposed theme park will also feature full-size replicas of Graceland and the White House, in addition to two golf courses and a chapel for those wishing to tie the knot – Vegas style.
The small rural village of Hacketstown has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of its links to the king of rock and roll. For six years the town hosted the Elvis Roots Festival, the last of which was held in 2019.
Jim Byrne, the postmaster at Hacketstown Post Office, who has already placed an order for 10,000 Elvis postcards, is hoping the development will bring a significant upturn in trade across Carlow: "There's no personality like Elvis. We've no doubt a development like this will transform this rural area and bring hundreds of thousands of Elvis fans from all around the world to visit the real home of the king. Let's hope not too many of these postcards are returned to sender!"
Independent councillor for Carlow County Council Tom Parker was quick to comment on the major boost for Carlow.
"I can honestly tell you I was all shook up when news of this development came through. He continued: "We're only too aware that some people might have suspicious minds over a development of this scale, but I can assure you that it's now or never — we must get behind this in order to transform the livelihoods of people across Carlow and the wider South East region. We need a little less conversation and a little more action on getting this over the line."