The Nama-backed sale of Carton House hotel and golf resort near Maynoothin Co Kildare was completed on Thursday with a closing price believed to be about €57 million.
The resort hotel was sold by the Mallaghan and Kelly families to Irish American businessman John Mullen.
Mr Mullen’s parents are from Co Mayo and this will be a personal investment and his first in Ireland. The 668-acre estate was put on the market in July with the consent of Nama. The 165-bedroom estate also includes two golf courses and extensive sports and spa facilities.
Mr Mullen is the founder and chairman of the Philadelphia-based Apple Leisure Group, which includes an international travel business and a resorts division. He began his travel career with United Airlines and later Lufthansa. In 1969, he opened a small travel agency in Drexel Hill, PA, specialising in group tours.
Today, Apple Vacations is one of the largest vacation companies and tour operators in North America, serving nearly one million passengers annually, and with 6,000 employees. In 2001, the Apple Leisure Group became fully integrated with the start-up of its new hotel division, AMResorts, an all-inclusive resort management company in Mexico and the Caribbean.
The company’s brands of exclusive resort properties include Zoetry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets Resorts & Spas, Dreams Resorts & Spas, Now Resorts & Spas and Sunscape Resorts & Spas.
With a history spanning more than eight centuries, Carton House has seen many changes. The estate first came into ownership of the Fitzgerald family shortly after Maurice FitzGerald played a role in the capture of Dublin by the Normans in 1170 and was rewarded by being appointed Lord of Maynooth, an area now including the Carton House Estate.
The modern development of Carton House, since its purchase in 1977, changed what was a dairy farm to a world-class historical house. It also has two world-class golf courses, the O’Meara and the Montgomerie, which have hosted many international competitions.