x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Guinness castle in Ireland can be yours for half price - just Dh117m

The Life: Ashford Castle in County Mayo is on sale for Dh117.3m - about half what it fetched at the market's peak five years ago.

Ashford Castle in Ireland is on the market for 25 million euros. AFP / Savills / Gerry O'Leary
Ashford Castle in Ireland is on the market for 25 million euros. AFP / Savills / Gerry O'Leary

At 784 years old, Ashford Castle has had its share of ups and downs. The latest of the downs - a decline in its property value by half - is but a blip compared with what went before.

The castle, in western Ireland's County Mayo, is on sale for €25 million (Dh117.3m), about half what it fetched at the market's peak five years ago.

It was founded in 1228 as a stronghold of the de Burgo clan, who won the land in battle. In 1589, it fell to an English lord, who, having conquered it, fortified it. In 1715, it more peacefully became a lodge. In 1852, the estate was bought and broadened by the Guinness family, in particular Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness.

It has been a hotel since the Guinnesses sold it and decamped in 1939. The castle has (at what would, to the centuries-spanning de Burgos, surely seem a madcap pace) changed owners three times since then.

What will the next owners be getting for their money?

They will be masters of the premier resort in Ireland, an 83-room hotel with the highest average room rates in the country, a beautiful crenellated pile surrounded by woods and fronting on a lake. The guests have included King George V and Oscar Wilde, John Wayne and Ronald Reagan.

While the hotel is especially popular with Americans, it has one amenity - falconry - that is of special interest to people from the Emirates. The hotel's "falconry school" uses Harris hawks, notable for their red-brown wings.

The average room rate at the castle was €315 a night in July, said Tom Barrett, the head of the Irish hotel and leisure unit at Savills, the broker managing the sale. That rate was the most in Ireland that month, he said, citing data compiled by STR Global.