24th October 2006 22:09Wineport owner’s Ray Byrne and Jane English are to oversee the running of a new €18 million hotel in the grounds of Ashford Castle. The hotel will be of a much smaller scale than Ashford Castle, but will represent a new type of ‘boutique’ hotel. “I’ve been working on this project for three years after a group of investors approached me about plans to open a small hotel,” said Ray Byrne. “It will be located in an old period house on the estate which was formerly occupied by the previous manager of Ashford Castle, Rory Murphy. “It’s overlooking Lisloughrey Pier and is called Lisloughrey House, although that may not be the name of the hotel,” he explained. He said that he was flattered to be involved in the new hotel and had found the venture very interesting so far. “It’s a new challenge to add to what we have achieved with the Wineport,” said Mr Byrne. He added, however, that he and his wife Jane have no plans to move to Mayo. “We will be operating the hotel under a management contract and its up to us now to find the Ray Byrne and Jane English of Cong to be the day to day managers. “Our role will be to advise and mentor the team,” said Mr Byrne. He said that there wasn’t any real history to date of the small boutique hotel in Ireland. “They are all big hotels with function rooms. This is a small group with an individual style to the property,” said Mr Byrne. The new hotel will comprise 50 bedrooms and is due to open in spring 2007.