‘Significant breakthrough’ reported in talks on future of Westport House

Tourist attraction owned by the Browne family may be sold to ‘benevolent investor’

Westport House in Co Mayo, home to the Browne family since the 1700s and one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, was put on the market for €10 million. Video: Enda O’Dowd

 

Westport House may be sold to a “benevolent investor” committed to maintaining it as a tourist attraction, if negotiations involving the State and the owners, the Browne family, are successful.

Mayo county manager Peter Hynes said that “progress is being made” in discussions. The house was put on the market with a guide price of €10 million earlier this month.

The local authority has no funds to buy the house, which is a key visitor attraction and central to Westport’s economy. However, it is in contact with Nama regarding acquiring the loan attached to the estate, valued at about €1 million.

If the loan is acquired, the property becomes more marketable, but the local authority would be seeking to ensure it was run as a tourism concern.

Sources close to the Browne family said a “significant breakthrough” had been achieved, and a “structure had been agreed”. It is understood that Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring is party to the discussions. Mr Ring did not respond to requests for comment.