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Hotel gets first new owner for over 350 years


The Markree Castle in Sligo

The Markree Castle in Sligo

The Markree Castle in Sligo

One of the best known hotels in the northwest has got a new owner for the first time in more than 300 years.

The Corscadden family said it will spend at least €5m refurbishing Markree Castle in Sligo after it bought the property from the Cooper family.

Terms of the sale were not revealed, but Markree Castle had been on the market for €3m since last year.

Markree had been owned by the Cooper family since the 17th century, when it was gifted to them by Cromwell. The castle itself dates from the 14th century. Cromwell reputedly allotted the castle and its surrounding lands to Edward Cooper, who had served under Cromwell when his army defeated the O'Brien Clan in 1663.

The family had run it as a 30-bedroom hotel for the last 25 years, and it had become particularly popular as a wedding destination.

Under the terms of the deal, the Corscaddens will spend around €5m refurbishing the hotel over the next three years. It will re-open in March next year if the refurb goes ahead as planned.

This the fourth castle-style hotel to be taken over by the Corscaddens. The family already controls the Ballyseede Castle in Co Kerry, Bellingham Castle in Co Louth and Cabra Castle in Co Cavan. The family has been involved in the hospitality business since Alec Corscadden ran the Arcadia Ballroom in Bray during the 1940s and 50s.

"We are delighted to add this incredible property to the Corscadden collection of Irish castles," said Howard Corscadden.

"[The] restoration project which will be carried out in three phases over three years.

"The first phase will concentrate on the public areas and a large number of the hotel's 30 bedrooms and will be completed before we re-open in March of next year.

"Charles Cooper has generously agreed to work with us in an advisory capacity, helping us to safeguard the authenticity of what is one of Ireland's most historic castles," he added.

"As a family, we have known the Coopers for many years, not just as colleagues in the hotel industry, but also as fellow members of the Manor House Hotels portfolio.

"We feel honoured that they have entrusted us to take care of their ancestral home and its 350 years of history. It is our intention to build on the already strong reputation that Markree Castle enjoys locally, nationally and internationally," Mr Corscadden added.

This purchase comes barely a year after the family completed the refurbishment of the four- star Bellingham Castle hotel in Co Louth.

Irish Independent