Show will go on at Ashford

IT will be “business as normal” at the five-star Ashford Castle Hotel, receivers appointed to the leading European hotel said yesterday.

The joint receivers from Ernst and Young intend that the hotel in Cong, Co Mayo, continues to trade as a going concern for the “foreseeable future.”

Ernst and Young said the appointment of the receivers was to ensure that the plush hotel continued to operate without any interruption to guests, staff and suppliers.

The professional services’ firm said the receivers would have access to funding to maintain and, if necessary, enhance the current high standards of the hotel.

The receivers say normal business will continue, with all employment maintained and suppliers retained. There was full commitment to maintain the hotel’s Christmas programme, they added. Ernst and Young have stated that all events booked with the hotel would go ahead as normal and deposits paid would be honoured.

The hotel, owned by Galway-based property investor, Gerry Barrett, recorded combined pre-tax losses of €39 million for 2008 and 2009.

The grounds of Ashford Castle, as well as nearby Cong, were used by film director John Ford in 1951 as the backdrop for the film, The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

The castle has played host to many well known guests, including singer John Lennon, US president Ronald Reagan, Prince Rainier of Monaco and his wife, Princess Grace, and actors Brad Pitt and Pierce Brosnan.

The hotel continues to get five stars from visitors on the internet.

Words like “fantastic”, “unforgettable” and “amazing” are used frequently in reviews.

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