Irish investment group Tetrarch has agreed a deal in principle to acquire Howth castle and demesne from the Gaisford-St Lawrence family in a multi-million euro deal.
The sale includes the Deer Park Hotel and golf courses, and is subject to the parties agreeing legally-binding contracts and completing due diligence.
Tetrarch plans to redevelop and reopen the Deer Park Hotel as a luxury property, and to transform the golf courses, drawing on its recent experience in redeveloping the Mount Juliet estate in Co Kilkenny. It is understood that some of the site might lend itself to residential development.
Howth castle and demesne covers more than 470 acres of walled gardens, woodland, heathland and rhododendron gardens, and has views over Dublin Bay and Howth Harbour. It includes a cookery school, and is open for tours during the summer.
The estate has been owned by the St Lawrence family for more than 840 years. The 16 staff employed on the estate were informed of the deal on Thursday evening.
Commenting on the deal, Julian Gaisford-St Lawrence said: “The opportunity to sell the estate to a suitably experienced investor whose management is committed to maintaining the integrity of its history, heritage and architecture, while realising its full potential as one of Ireland’s leading historic tourist destinations, is one that we welcome.
“We believe we have identified a partner in Tetrarch, who has the ambition and the resources to deliver an exciting and secure future for this unique location in a manner that would greatly benefit our many visitors, staff and the local community.”
Tetrarch chief executive Michael McElligott was “absolutely delighted” to secure the deal. “We have worked with Julian and his family on this very exciting opportunity for several years. Howth castle and demesne is a truly stunning property, located close to Dublin city and airport.
“We intend to progress with our very exciting plans for the redevelopment of the former Deer Park Hotel and golf courses, subject to receipt of the necessary planning permissions.
“Tetrarch’s track record working on significant projects requiring planning, redevelopment, and strong asset and operational management skills would ensure that we are able to realise the significant potential that Howth castle and demesne offers.”
Deer Park Golf Club currently has an 18-hole and a nine-hole golf course, an 18-hole pitch and putt course, a nine-hole par 3 course, and an 18-hole footgolf course.
Deer Park Golf Club will remain open for business following completion of the sale and through to the end of 2019, pending a decision by Tetrarch on its long-term plans for redevelopment of the lands.
Tetrarch has a hospitality portfolio comprising 1,231 bedrooms including Powerscourt Hotel, Resort & Spa, the Mount Juliet estate, the Citywest Hotel and Convention Centre in Saggart, and the Killashee Hotel.