170 jobs saved as Dromoland Castle buys local hotel
ONE hundred and seventy jobs were secured yesterday as the five-star Dromoland Castle hotel in Co Clare confirmed that it has bought the Clare Inn hotel.
It is understood that the owners of Dromoland Castle paid more than €1.8m for the 188-bedroom Clare Inn, which was part of the Lynch Group of hotels that went into receivership in January of last year.
The three-star Clare Inn hotel property adjoins the 410-acre Dromoland Castle demesne. Yesterday, the managing director of Dromoland Castle Mark Nolan said: "We are delighted that after some 25 years the Clare Inn has now returned to the Dromoland family."
The Clare Inn was sold to the Lynch family in 1987 and Mr Nolan said: "It has been a longstanding wish of the present owners and management to reunite the two properties under one operational team."
Mr Nolan said the purchase secured the 160-170 full- and part-time jobs at the Clare Inn.
He added: "We are delighted about that. Bookings at the hotel are looking healthy for July and August and we intend to do a major refurbishment in October and November."
The chairman of Dromoland Castle, Gavin O'Reilly, said: "The acquisition of the Clare Inn is about securing local jobs and providing further investment in the Shannon region and represents an important boost for Irish tourism."
Mr Nolan said that between €250,000 and €500,000 would be spent on the refurbishment.
He would not be drawn on how much Dromoland paid for the Clare Inn, but said: "There was an element of sentiment in the purchase.
"While each hotel property will continue to serve distinct market segments, the acquisition is great news for both properties and for guests alike, allowing both hotels to expand on the informal relationship that has existed for some years, while ensuring further investment in the region."
The purchase follows what Mr Nolan described as "a very successful and profitable year for Dromoland in 2011 and following the acquisition of the Clare Inn, we expect that 2012 will surpass that and further enhance the iconic status and appeal of Dromoland Castle".
The latest accounts for Dromoland -- which has entertained George Bush and Nelson Mandela in the past -- show that the hotel had accumulated profits of €11m at the end of 2010, with net assets totalling €21.7m.