Denis O’Brien pays over €6.5m for Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

Four-star hotel stands on 450 acres all overlooked by the Twelve Bens

The owners of Ballynahinch Castle Hotel and estate in the heart of Connemara, Co Galway, received slightly more than €6.5 million from billionaire Denis O'Brien for the rather beautiful property. That seems a fairly good price, given the way Irish house prices has been moving in recent times.

The four-star luxury castle hotel stands on a 450 acres of woodland, rivers and walks, all overlooked by the imposing Twelve Bens mountain range.

Accounts just filed by BCI International Inc (formerly Ballynahinch Castle Inc), show that an initial consideration of €5.58 million was paid in the 13-month period to the end of January 2014, with a further €500,000 expected to be paid in July of this year.

The profit BCI recorded on the disposal on the business was €3.19 million. Deal costs were €360,408. The company paid no corporation tax for the period, and a capital gains tax charge did not arise in respect of the disposal of the castle due to indexation relief. (The couple bought the castle in the 1970s.)


BCI is an unusual beast – a Panamanian company registered in Ireland. Its owners are Raymond K Mason and Minerva R Mason, who are both in their 80s and live in Florida. Loans they were due from the company totalling €3.18 million were paid off with the sum, including an earlier loan waiver of €1.5 million from the couple being reversed. Bank loans of €1.9 million were also paid off.

Turnover for the period was €3.5 million, up from €3.3 million in the 12 months to the end of December 2012, while pre-tax profits were €3.19 million, compared with €58,800 during the previous period.

Raymond K Mason was head of the Charter Company, a Fortune 500 conglomerate, for almost 40 years. The group was involved in oil, insurance and communications.

In the 1980s, a helicopter taking senior Charter Company executives from the castle to Shannon Airport crashed, with the loss of five lives, including four senior executives. At the time, Charter had a turnover of approximately $5 billion.

The castle itself was built in the 18th century and has had a few interesting owners over the years, including an Indian maharaja. O’Brien has spent a few more euros renovating the property since its acquisition. The story continues.