Yours for €590,000... 32-bedroom hotel where George enjoyed best of times
A 32-bedroom hotel which was a favourite haunt of football legend George Best is to be auctioned with a reserve price of just €590,000.
Receivers acting on behalf of the banks are selling Ostan Gweedore, which overlooks a famous beach along Donegal's Wild Atlantic Way.
Six adjoining holiday apartments and a leisure centre with swimming pool are also included in the lot which will go under the hammer at an Allsop auction in Dublin on December 13.
The hotel was owned by the local Boyle family, whose cousin Pat Crerand played alongside Best in Manchester United's European Cup-winning team of 1968.
Crerand and Best were regular visitors to the west Donegal hotel in the 1970s and 1980s.
Best once described the area as "the most beautiful place on Earth".
Crerand returned to the hotel three years ago to broadcast a live show to 18 million subscribers to Man United TV around the world. Norman Whiteside was one of the guests.
Crerand, whose mother is from Gweedore, admitted that he and Best had once started a rumour that they had actually bought a share in the hotel because they were there so often. "But it was all just blarney," he said.
The blue jersey that Crerand wore in the European Cup victory was once mounted on a wall at the hotel which overlooks Magheraclogher Beach.
A shipwreck on the beach - Bád Eddie - featured in the video for Bono and Clannad's song 'In a Lifetime' in 1985 and has become the backdrop for newly married couples and thousands of tourists each year.
Allsop said there had been "considerable" interest in the property.
The reserve price for the hotel is the same as the asking price for a four-bedroom home in Cabinteely in Dublin or a four-bed property on Limerick's North Circular Road.
Paul Diver, the one-time manager of the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh in Donegal, bought that property at a similar auction in March 2012. His €650,000 bid for the four-star 55-bedroom hotel was accepted. He said increased tourism along the Wild Atlantic Way would help a new owner.
"I have mixed feelings because I feel so sorry for the Boyle family at losing the hotel," Mr Diver said.
"Tourism is now the backbone of the Donegal economy. We used to open at the Sandhouse for six months; now we are open all year round."