For years, the small castle at the foot of Slieve Gullion lay abandoned and in disrepair. Built back in 1836 the Estate was well known in the local area and provided a scenic view over the foothills of the mountain itself.
For Mick Boyle, raised in Australia, when the castle came up for sale, there was an opportunity to reinvest and connect more closely with his deep roots to the area. Indeed, Mick’s mother, Pauline Rice was a proud, skilful, and decorated Killeavy Camog whose picture can still be seen beside the bar in the Killeavy social club today. Though Mick grew up and resides in Australia there was always a tether back to Slieve Gullion and when the opportunity came to renovate Killeavy Castle it must have felt like a calling home.
Along with his wife Robin, they transformed Killeavy Castle Estate into a widely recognised luxury destination for weddings, events, dining, accommodation, and spa. Speaking on this transformation, Mick Boyle said, “We wanted to create a world class hotel with an authentic Farm to Fork experience on the 350-acre estate with working farm, extensive woodlands and historic castle on the slopes of beautiful Slieve Gullion. From the design to the build and operation our aim was for the Estate to not just be in the area but to be of the area. We are delighted that our local staff and produce truly showcase the wonders of Killeavy and South Armagh.”
In this endeavour the Estate formed a charitable partnership with the Bolster Community who aid many in the local community by providing support for families in financial difficulty, senior citizens and those living with disabilities. Additionally, and close to Mick’s own heart, the Estate has also become the sponsors of Killeavy’s Senior Camogie team ensuring that the legacy of his mother Pauline lives on through the hurls and sliotars of today’s young Camogs.
Speaking about the support Killeavy Chairperson Maeve O’ Neill said, “It’s fantastic for Camogie in the area to have such a significant backer within the local community. We currently have women and young girls playing for Armagh across almost every age group and that is reflective of the work being done and the support being given to strengthen the GAA in the Slieve Gullion area.”