Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

£10m investment boost for Killeavy Castle development

The planned multi-million pound development of the historic Killeavy Castle into a luxury hotel and spa has received a significant boost with the announcement that Invest NI is to plough almost £10m into the project.

Chief Executive of Invest NI, Alastair Hamilton, announced a £983,000 offer to Jaramas Investments NI Ltd to support the ambitious development on the historic estate close to Slieve Gullion.

Mr Hamilton recently visited the Killeavy Castle estate with Australian investor Mick Boyle.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: “This is an exciting investment in South Armagh which will provide a valuable boost to the tourism infrastructure in the region. Invest NI’s support is enabling Jaramas Investments to build and restore listed buildings into an attractive destination for visitors worldwide.

“The development of Killeavy Castle, Hotel and Wellness Centre is expected to create over 80 new jobs in the Newry, Mourne & Down District Council area, in addition to the employment generated during the construction phase over the next two years.

“The economic benefits of this project also extend to the local supply chain which stands to benefit from the purchasing of consumables once the hotel and spa is operational in 2018,” he added.

The multi-million project will involve the restoration of the Grade A listed Killeavy Castle for use as a Guest House and meeting venue; the development of a courtyard of Grade B listed outbuildings into a 40 bedroom boutique hotel and spa; and the construction of a permanent marquee as a special events suite, adjacent to the Castle which will provide the frontage to this space.

The former walled garden on the Estate will also be restored and contain a café. Nature treks and walks will also be developed to align with the attractions of the adjacent Slieve Gullion Forest Park.

Commenting on the significance of the investment and its progress, Mick Boyle, owner of Jaramas Investments NI said: “We want to create a distinct visitor attraction that maximises the heritage and beauty of the Killeavy Castle Estate and makes a positive contribution to the local community.

“Support from Invest NI and Newry, Mourne and Down District will make a vital contribution in enabling us to undertake the extensive building and restoration works. Progress on the project is well underway and the Hotel, Spa and Wellness Centre is on track to be operational by late 2018.”

Mr Boyle is a native of the area, having immigrated to Australia as a child in the late 1960s with his parents, Michael and Pauline Boyle, who both come from South Armagh.