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Corscadden Family acquire County Sligo’s historic Markree Castle

Hotel to undergo 5m. euros restoration and will re-open to public in March 2016.

Luxury Manor House Hotel owners, the Corscadden Family, have acquired County Sligo’s historic Markree Castle for an undisclosed sum. The family, which now owns four castle hotel properties (one in each province of Ireland), is about to embark on a 5m euros restoration project which will see the castle re-open to the public in March 2016.

The acquisition comes little more than a year after the family completed the restoration of Bellingham Castle in Co. Louth which has since become one of the country’s most picturesque and sought-after four star wedding and conference venues.

This is the first time that Markree Castle has changed hands since it was gifted to the Cooper family by Cromwell in the mid-17th century. It has been a 30-bedroom hotel and popular location for wedding celebrations for the last 25 years and is situated in 225 acres of parkland, home to the castle’s resident flock of rare-breed Wensleydale sheep.

“We are delighted to add this incredible property to the Corscadden collection of Irish castles,” said Howard Corscadden.

“We are about to embark on a €5m restoration project which will be carried out in three phases over three years.  The first phase will concentrate on the public areas and a large number of the hotel’s 30 bedrooms and will be completed before we re-open in March of next year. Charles Cooper has generously agreed to work with us in an advisory capacity, helping us to safeguard the authenticity of what is one of Ireland’s most historic castles.

“As a family, we have known the Coopers for many years, not just as colleagues in the hotel industry, but also as fellow members of the Manor House Hotels portfolio. We feel honoured that they have entrusted us to take care of their ancestral home and its 350 years of history. It is our intention to build on the already strong reputation that Markree Castle enjoys locally, nationally and internationally.”

This is the fourth castle in the Corscadden collection which also comprises Ballyseede Castle in Co. Kerry, Bellingham Castle in Co. Louth and Cabra Castle in Co. Cavan. Three generations of the family have worked in the hospitality industry, beginning with Alec Corscadden and his wife Mamie who ran the Arcadia Ballroom in Bray, Co. Wicklow during the 1940s and 1950s. It was the premier ballroom of the Irish showband era, large enough to accommodate 5,000 on the dancefloor. In the early 1960s, their son Pappy and his wife Mitzie converted the old regional hospital in Kildare Town into the Derby House Hotel, which ran until the 1990s. In 1991, Pappy and Mitzie purchased the family’s first castle – Cabra Castle – before passing on the baton to their children who are the current custodians of the collection.

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