A €50 million west Cork building restoration project, billed as one of the largest in Irish history, shut its doors to the public yesterday to lie idle indefinitely.
Renovation works at Dunboy Castle near Castletownbere, Co Cork, ground to a halt in 2010 as investment dried up leaving the 18th-century Puxley Mansion 90 per cent complete.
A flurry of visitors took advantage of the final opportunity to catch a glimpse of the unfinished interior yesterday, the last public open day for 2011. The castle refurbishment was intended to be Ireland's first six-star hotel and included a complete renovation of the mansion in the grounds of 15thcentury Dunboy Castle, seat of the O'Sullivan Beara clan.
The mansion was left a skeleton after being burned down by the IRA in 1921. Bought by four local businessmen in 1999, the coastal manor was to be redeveloped in conjunction with a large professional hotel group. They secured a developer, Dublin-based Cap Partners, and sold their interest in the property.
Renovation work on the mansion, due to open in 2009, was almost completed, with the great baronial hall restored to its previous magnificence, but work was suspended in early 2010.
When funding dried up, the magnificent unfinished property, with a glass bridge linking to 72 hotel suits was placed on the market for an undisclosed sum with a US property firm, according to Phillip Donoghue, former project manager.