Northern Ireland news

Council agrees lease terms for Necarne Estate in Fermanagh

Necarne Castle and Chapel during the Fermanagh Harriers Hunt Club Point to Point Steeplechases.

A HISTORIC Fermanagh estate is to be turned into a `holiday retreat' after being handed over to a development company on a 99-year lease.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council approved the proposed lease terms for Necarne Estate in Irvinestown with Gardrum Holdings Ltd - a Co Tyrone plant auctioneering firm.

It is planning to create a leisure complex with "a range of accommodation; outdoor activities; enhanced walkways and cycle paths; an equestrian trail; events space and reinstatement of Necarne lake".

Council chair Siobhán Currie said it had been "a lengthy and robust process... to ensure that a long term sustainable use can be established for this beautiful yet underutilised estate that will bring social, economic and environmental benefits to the local community and the district".

The public will continue to access to the estate free of charge for walking, cycling, horse-riding and dog walking unless an event is on and as the owner of the listed Necarne Castle, the council is obliged to maintain it.

The 17th century castle, which was the home of the D'arcy-Irvine family and "one of the finest examples of Gothic revival architecture in Ireland", is in need of restoration.

Some work has recently been carried out to deal with vegetation and the council insisted it is committed to its redevelopment "for wider community benefit and that of the local heritage".

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