They don't bat an eyelid, we're just the two lads from the hotel
It was love at first sight. When hoteliers Mark Golden and Mark Johnston first set eyes on the building that is now the Beara Coast Hotel they knew this was the one for them.
The couple, in both life and business, got the keys to the 16-bedroom hotel two years ago this week.
"The place was really in poor shape. The grounds were overgrown and falling apart in places. So, we embarked on an aggressive renovation job, brought in the bulldozers and knocked walls. We opened the place to leave the natural light in," explains Mark Golden, originally from north Cork.
By December of 2015, the Beara Coast Hotel was open for business.
Its location overlooking the pier on the far curve of this beautiful town could hardly be more majestic.
"The support we received at every step from the local people was incredible. Where they could help they did," explains Golden. "I always said that if we could make this hotel work it would act as a catalyst for the rest of the town and perhaps result in other business, including new restaurants and cafes, opening and I think it has." The two Marks tied the knot at the hotel in November last year.
"It was a wonderful occasion and we had little old ladies coming up to us and wishing us well. I don't actually think people really think of us as a married couple. They don't bat an eyelid, we're just the two lads from the hotel and that's how we like it," says Golden. "People around here are modern-thinking, respectful and honourable. They've always had to work hard and once you show you're committed to them and the town, which we have, you'll get that commitment back in spades."
Business is booming at the Beara Coast Hotel and Mark Golden told Review the Wild Atlantic Way has acted as a major magnet for people.
"From speaking with other business people in the town we'd estimate that business is up 30pc on last year in terms of footfall. The word is getting out about Castletownbere. But we have to be careful not to over-commercialise it too. To do so could do damage to the town and its uniqueness."