Bloomberg News

Irish Hotel Linking Reagan to Beatles’ Lennon on Sale

October 31, 2012

Ireland’s Most Costly Hotel on Sale for 50% Less Than 2007 Value

Ashford Castle, which has 365-acres of grounds, is beside the village of Cong about 240 kilometers west of Dublin. Photographer: Gerry O'Leary/Savills Plc via Bloomberg

Ashford Castle, the hotel that charges the most in Ireland per night, was put up for sale at 25 million euros ($32 million), about half of what Irish developer Gerry Barrett paid for the property at the market’s peak five years ago.

The historic 83-room hotel, where parts of “The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne were filmed, is being sold on behalf of receiver Ernst & Young Ltd., according to a statement today by Savills Plc (SVS), the broker managing the sale. The average room rate was about 315 euros a night in July, said Tom Barrett, head of Savills’ hotel and leisure unit in Ireland. That was the most in Ireland that month, he said, citing data compiled by STR Global.

Income-producing properties in Ireland have, on average, lost about two-thirds of their value since 2007, according to Investment Property Databank Ltd. Ashford Castle, near the village of Cong about 240 kilometers (150 miles) west of Dublin, was less affected by the slump than other hotels because it appeals to overseas visitors, Savills’ Barrett said.

“American tourists would be the biggest element of that” foreign demand, he said by phone.

Parts of the castle were built in the 1220s and it became the Guinness (DGE) family’s home in 1852. It was turned into a hotel in 1939, according to the hotel’s website. Guests have included Britain’s King George V, writer Oscar Wilde, Beatles singer John Lennon and President Ronald Reagan, according to the statement.

Fishing, Falconry

The hotel offers its guests falconry and clay pigeon shooting as well as trout and salmon fishing, according to its website. Pat Cohan’s Bar, a village pub an 8-minute walk from the hotel, was used for some of the key scenes in “The Quiet Man,” a 1952 movie that also starred Maureen O’Hara.

A plan to develop 13 penthouse bedrooms, 30 lodges and expand the 9-hole golf course to 18 holes was drawn up and never completed, London-based Savills said in the statement.

Gerry Barrett bought the hotel, on 365 acres (148 hectares) of land, in 2007 for 50 million euros, according to the Irish Times. He declined to comment by telephone.

Lloyds Banking Group Plc’s (LLOY) Bank of Scotland (Ireland) unit appointed a receiver to Ashford Castle Properties Ltd. and Ashford Castle Estate Ltd. in November 2011, according to Iris Oifigiuil, the Irish State Gazette.

To contact the reporter on this story: Neil Callanan in London at ncallanan@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net.


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