An 'infectious passion' for Armagh leads to creation of £12m hotel
The returning emigrant behind the £12m redevelopment of Killeavy Castle estate in Armagh has returned home to unveil his hotel after a cash boost from First Trust bank.
Entrepreneur Mick Boyle flew into Armagh from his adopted home of Australia ahead of the April opening of the development at the foot of Slieve Gullion.
It includes the redevelopment of the Grade 1 listed castle building, a permanent events marquee and a new build 45-bed hotel and spa. In total, the site will employ 85 people.
The site was bought by Mr Boyle and his wife Robin in 2013 for £1.9m and over the last two years, 90 contractors have completed extensive renovations.
Mr Boyle said: "We want Killeavy Castle to be a world-class destination where people can escape the busyness of modern life and get closer to what's important."
Gary Flynn, business acquisition manager at First Trust Bank said: "We are incredibly proud to have played a part in the restoration of Killeavy Castle. The exceptional attention to detail at every step of the project has resulted in the creation of one of the most stunning venues on the island of Ireland.
"Mick's passion for south Armagh is infectious. It's clear he is committed to creating hospitality excellence and showcasing the beauty and charm of the local area on a global stage.
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"The castle itself still has so many of its quirky period features, sympathetically restored to its former glory."
Jason Foody, general manager, said demand for the event space was already high. "There has been a great demand for our unique facilities with 50 events already booked in, from fairytale wedding ceremonies to glamorous receptions.
"We have had enquiries from all over the world including the US and Asia, with people excited about visiting the estate and taking in the breathtaking scenery."
Mr Flynn added: "It's great to see such a high-quality development of this kind enhancing our rural communities and is testament to the potential that is there to be harnessed. The spectacular hotel will be a source of pride for the local people."