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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Crowds pay tribute to the 'rogue' lord of renowned estate

Brian Byrne

Published 15/07/2014 | 02:30

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Lord Altamont
Lord Altamont

THE gentleman of Westport House who had "an unusual way of looking at the world" was waked at his Mayo estate last night.

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Crowds gathered at what is normally one of the west's main tourists attractions to pay tribute to a businessman and law changer.

The 74-year-old Lord Altamont passed away on Sunday following a two-year battle with cancer, leaving behind a legacy more than a dozen generations in the making.

Since it was built in the 16th century, the stately home of the Marquess of Sligo served as the home of the Browne family.

Rogue

But it was Lord Altamont, described by friends as "a rogue", who turned the 400-acre estate into the thrilling adventure park that continues to attract tens of thousands of visitors every year.

For five decades, Lord Altamont, 11th Marquess of Sligo and 13th great-grandson of notorious pirate queen Grace O'Malley, retained ownership of the site, like his ancestors before him.

But the house might not have survived if it weren't for his creativity, which took it from the pits of crippling debt to a successful business.

First he opened the manor's doors to the public in 1960, then he opened a zoo, before setting up an adventure park.

Lord Altamont is survived by his wife Jennifer, daughters Sheelyn, Karen, Lucinda, Clare, Alannah and grandchildren.

A private cremation service will take place today in Mount Jerome Crematorium, Dublin and a memorial Service will take place at a later date.

The family have asked for donations in his memory to be given to the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice.

Irish Independent

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