South Armagh native returns to open new hotel, creating 85 jobs
(L-R) Clare Clarke, Relationship Manager at First Trust Bank, Killeavy Castle Estate owner Mick Boyle, Gary Flynn, Business Acquisition Manager at First Trust Bank and General Manager, Jason Foody are pictured outside the newly renovated Killeavy castle and event marquee
Killeavy Castle, nestled in the woodland at the foot of Slieve Gullion, is set to unveil its newly refurbished premises following a £12 million investment.
The Grade 1 listed building, derelict for over a decade, has been given a new lease of life after being bought by Armagh native Mick Boyle and his wife Robin, for £1.2 million in 2013.
The Castle will create 85 new jobs for the local area from part-time to full-time staff under the management of new General Manager, Jason Foody.
Over the last two years, 90 local contractors – from design to construction and landscaping companies – have been employed to complete extensive renovations with painstaking care, ensuring the 19th century building has been fully restored to its former glory.
Entrepreneurs Mick and Robin Boyle run a successful Australian construction company, Abergeldie Complex Infrastructure. The couple, who currently live in Sydney, have a special connection to the local area as Mick was born in South Armagh before immigrating to Australia in the 1960s.
Speaking about the investment, Killeavy Castle Estate owner, Mick Boyle explains that the renovations will put a modern twist on the traditional charm of the castle. He said:
“Robin and I wanted to change the way people think about South Armagh. We want to create a destination venue where tourists and local people can come to and enjoy great dining, access the beautiful mountain walks and feel very connected with their natural surroundings. 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.
“What makes us unique is our location and heritage. We are situated at the foot of the mighty Slieve Gullion with unrivalled natural beauty and incredible views. Our heritage and provenance are at the heart of everything we do. Our food will be sourced locally or grown in our walled garden, our 85 staff are by majority live locally, and we have incorporated the beauty of the countryside into the design and interior of the castle and hotel. We also have a working farm with cheviot sheep and longhorned cattle.”
Killeavy Castle, first built in 1836, now has four luxury bedrooms, a formal dining room, a cellar bar and private function facilities, all with period features which have undergone significant restoration. Behind the Castle there is a permanent marquee for weddings, retreats and corporate events.
Steeped in rich history, an underground tunnel once used as a servant’s passageway now links the castle to the newly built 45-bed boutique spa hotel, a Grade 2 listed building which was formerly a coach house, mill and farm buildings.
General Manager of Killeavy Castle Estate, Jason Foody added:
“There has been a great demand for our unique facilities with 50 events already booked in, from fairy-tale wedding ceremonies to glamorous receptions. We have had enquiries from all over the world including the US and Asia, with people excited to visit the estate and take in the breath-taking scenery.”