THE ICONIC Bellingham Castle just outside Dundalk has been sold to the owners of Cabra Castle, the Argus can reveal.
The sale was recently completed, and, although a final figure has not been disclosed, the Castlebellingham premises was on the market last year for an asking price of €1.75 million, almost a quarter of the 2008 asking price of €6.75m.
The 21-bedroom castle, which was owned by the Keenan family, had been on the market for more than four years. A source close to the Keenans confirmed yesterday the sale had gone through and the former owners are said to be 'delighted'.
The prestigious Cabra Castle, near Kingscourt, Co Cavan, owned by the Corscadden family, has become one of the country's best-known wedding venues and the four-star hotel is set in 100 acres at Dun a Ri forest park.
Work will start on Bellingham Castle immediately, and will be ongoing to June/July 2013. The Corscadden family are pumping a massive investment of €4 million, which will transform this historic property into a 22 bedroom, 4 star boutique style castle, with exclusive wedding venue hire, with substantial local job creation.
A spokeswoman for the hotel's new owners told the Argus: ' The Corscadden family see Bellingham as having all the essential elements, and as the perfect triplet in the faultless accompaniment to Cabra and Ballyseede Castle, which are now confidently established banqueting venues.'
'Bellingham Castle was purchased by the Corscadden family, who are currently running Cabra Castle and two of the family members are running Ballyseede, and another family member and his girlfriend will manage Bellingham when it opens in the summer of 2013.'
She added that the Corscadden family have been leaders in the hotel and banqueting industry in Ireland for over 20 years.
' The family would like to thank the local community in Castlebellingham for their many warm wishes, and we looking forward to working with the local community over the coming months.'
Work on the extensive refurbishment is set to get underway later this week.