Luxury Irish hotel sells for half 2007 price

Luxury Irish hotel sells for half 2007 price

Ashford Castle, a five-star hotel on 365 acres (148 hectares) of land on the west coast, is on the market for 25 million euros ($32.46 million) -- 25 million euros less than property developer Gerry Barrett paid for it in 2007.

The Irish hotel sector -- which expanded heavily during the "Celtic Tiger" boom years -- was badly affected by the downturn in the Irish and global economies. Property prices in Ireland have collapsed in recent years.

Last year, Ashford Castle, by the shores of Lough Corrib in County Mayo, was placed in receivership but estate agents Savills said it continues to trade successfully.

The 13th century castle -- once owned by the Guinness family -- has played host to a range of dignitaries and celebrities, including former US president Ronald Reagan and the future British king, George V, in 1906.

It was also the wedding reception venue of former James Bond actor, Pierce Brosnan in 2001.

Most famously, the castle featured as the backdrop to John Ford's 1952 Hollywood blockbuster, "The Quiet Man", starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.

"It's got an amazing heritage from the 13th century right up until when it became a hotel in 1939," Savills' Tom Barrett told AFP.

"From the 1970s it has developed into one of the world's top hotels and it has performed and stayed there ever since."

Last week, travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller voted it the best resort in Ireland and the third best in Europe.

Rooms at the hotel can fetch between 400 and 950 euros ($584 and $1,168) per night, and draws a large number of overseas visitors, particularly from the United States.

The hotel was owned by American John Mulcahy from 1970 until 1985 when it was sold to Irish American investors, who retained the property until Gerry Barrett purchased it in 2007.

Savills said there was already strong interest in the property from the United States and Asia.

Tom Barrett said: "Hotels and good commercial properties are selling in Ireland again. We're seeing that there's domestic and international demand for good Irish properties."