Austrian investor pays €15m for famed Dundalk hotel

Thomas Röggla adds Ballymascanlon House Hotel to portfolio of four and five star venues

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/commercial-property/austrian-investor-pays-15m-for-famed-dundalk-hotel-1.4809198

Ronald Quinlan 22nd February 2022

The well-known Ballymascanlon House Hotel in Dundalk, Co Louth, has been acquired by Davy Real Estate for the TMR Hotel Collection, the portfolio of four- and five-star hotels assembled by Austrian investor, Thomas Röggla.

The sale of the property brings to a close a 76-year run in which the landmark venue was owned and operated by three generations of the Quinn family. ‘The Ballymac’, as it is fondly known, was originally purchased along with its 130-acre parkland estate by the late Irene Quinn from the Plunkett family for £9,000 in 1946. While no purchase price has been disclosed on this occasion, The Irish Times understands from market sources that the TMR Hotel Collection has paid around €15 million to secure ownership of the property.

The hotel has long been synonymous with the social and business life of the northeast region. Quite apart from its popularity as a location for wedding receptions, the Ballymascanlon House Hotel has in its time hosted numerous celebrity guests including soccer legend George Best, famed Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, and the 1960s pop icons Engelbert Humperdinck and Adam Faith. In 1963, the Beatles stopped by for lunch following their two shows at the old Adelphi Cinema on Dublin’s Middle Abbey Street. Between the 1960s and 1990s, many soccer teams including Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and PSV Eindhoven stayed at the hotel.

The Ballymascanlon House Hotel famously hosted the first Ecumenical meeting of the four main churches of Ireland, North and South in 1972. Those talks are, to this day, referred to as “The Ballymascanlon Talks”.

The hotel itself comprises 97 bedrooms and is set on 130 acres of parkland, with an impressive Victorian house providing a luxurious arrival to the hotel. The hotel is located on the Cooley Peninsula in close proximity to the Mourne Mountains.

‘Thoroughly enjoyed’

Commenting on his family’s decision to sell, Oliver Quinn, managing director of the Ballymascanlon House Hotel said: “After three generations of ownership, we have agreed to sell the hotel. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with and thank an outstanding team at the hotel during this period and we have no doubt that the hotel will continue to thrive under its new owners. The hotel has been an important part of the Quinn family’s life for three generations. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for their loyalty over the years and wish the new owners every success into the future.”

Eimear Fox, director at Davy Real Estate, said: “We are delighted to add the iconic Ballymascanlon House Hotel to the TMR Hotel Collection. This strategic investment will complement our existing collection of 13 four-star and five-star Irish hotels which includes Harveys Point, Aghadoe Heights, Connemara Coast Hotel, Mount Wolseley and Farnham Estate. As with all hotels acquired by TMR Hotel Collection, we plan to invest in the business over time.

“The ‘Ballymac’ is a very successful business with a widely-held reputation for excellence in standards and service. We look forward to welcoming long-standing and new guests and building on the reputation of the business while maintaining the highest standards of service achieved by the Quinn family. Staff are the cornerstone of any good business and we very much look forward to working with all the loyal and dedicated staff of ‘The Ballymac’.”

The sale of the Ballymascanlon House Hotel was brokered by John Hughes, director at CBRE’s hotel division.

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