THE HISTORIC WESTPORT House and estate in County Mayo has been sold to the family that operates the four-star Hotel Westport.
The new owners said they would invest €50 million in refurbishing the attraction, which would create 200 jobs
The Browne family, which owned the estate for four centuries, said that it had been an emotional day as they sold their family home.
Commenting on the sale, Sheelyn Browne said: “We are handing over custody of our ancestral family home after hundreds of years, but we are doing so in the knowledge that the new owners are committed to bringing to fruition the ambitions and dreams of our late and much loved father Jeremy Browne.”
The estate’s new owner, Cathal Hughes – who is chairman of Hotel Westport – said the Hughes would liaise with the Brownes as they develop the property over the next few years.
“I want to assure all the existing staff, suppliers and customers that we will continue to operate as normal under the new ownership,” he said.
“As a local business family, we are delighted to be able to make this investment in our home town. We realise the importance of Westport House as a tourist amenity to the whole of Mayo.”
The estate is one of the oldest in Ireland and comprises a range of buildings and facilities.
The façade of the present house dates to 1778 and has been in the ownership of the Browne family from before this time. The family traces its lineage back to the 16th Century Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley.
A report commissioned by Mayo Council by CHL Consulting in 2015 concluded that Westport House Estate directly creates 47 jobs and accounts for €50.7 million of indirect expenditure for the region.
The Browne family has owned the house for almost 400 years. It has been open to the public since 1960.
Westport House Estate has also shown significant growth in recent years with over 162,000 paying customers in 2014, up from 89,000 visitors in 2009.
Written by Gráinne Ní Aodha and posted on TheJournal.ie