News

Castle restoration ‘will provide job boost’

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Castle restoration ‘will provide job boost’ thumbnailBelle's Castle. NM1423

THE owners of Killeavy Castle have applied for planning permission to build a hotel within the castle grounds which could create 85 full-time and 30 part-time jobs.
Killeavy Castle was sold at auction for £1.19 million in March 2013 by an Australian couple who have strong links to the Killeavy area of south Armagh.
Newry-based architects P O'Hagan and Associates have been appointed to design a 36-bedroom hotel close to the castle and to restore the 19th century Grade One listed building to its former glory.
It is hoped the refurbished castle will be up and running as early as 2016.
The castle has not been occupied for more than 10 years and has badly deteriorated since then. The 330-acre estate backs onto the slopes of Slieve Gullion and includes a farm and woodland.
SDLP European candidate Alex Attwood visited Killeavy Castle as part of ongoing negotiations between an SDLP delegation, led by MLA Dominic Bradley, with the developers and design team responsible for the refurbishment and redevelopment of the castle.
Mr Attwood said the regeneration proposals will "undoubtedly" boost the south Armagh economy.
“The proposed development at the castle has the potential to lead to substantial and much needed employment and other economic opportunities in the greater south Armagh and north Louth area whilst at the same time helping to preserve an important Grade A listed building which is very much valued by the local community.
“My colleagues Dominic Bradley and Councillor Geraldine Donnelly have already been heavily involved in the project and have held meetings with the developer and Environment Minister Mark H Durkan.
“They have also facilitated meetings with Newry and Mourne District Council. I detect urgency within the local community to see this project brought to fruition in the interests of everyone concerned."
Councillor Davy Hyland has welcomed the news of the refurbishment of Killeavy Castle and expects to see widespread benefits for the whole of south Armagh.
“The adventure playground at the foot of Slieve Gullion has already proved to be an outstanding success story," said Councillor Hyland.
“Coupled with this new hotel, these fantastic facilities will encourage more people to travel to this area of outstanding beauty and heritage.
“Moreover, the construction of the new hotel will provide much needed jobs in the area. On completion, the project will provide full-time work for 80 people and part-time work for 35 more. It should prove to be a real asset for our local area."
The building started life as an elaborate farm lodge with gothic styling built between 1810 and 1820 by the Foxall family, who were the founders of a private bank in Newry's Canal Street around the same period.
In 1836, the Foxall's commissioned Dublin Architect George Papworth to build four stone towers to the lodge and a number of outbuildings and add Tudor style windows - the changes earned the property the title of Killeavy castle.
By 1881 the castle came into the Bell family and remained in the family until the death of Maureen Bell in 2000.

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