The Bailie Hotel has been placed for sale. Photo: Google Maps

Hope Bailie Hotel will remain trading

Offers for the well-known hotel will be accepted until early September.

The owners of the Bailie Hotel say it’s hoped a buyer can be found who intends to keep the well-known business trading as a hotel and bar.

The iconic establishment in the centre of Bailieborough has been put on the market by the McEnaney family.

“We’re 19 years here in September,” says Patrick McEnaney. “We bought this as a family with one outsider.

“We were all thinking of doing something as a family. We wanted to do something as a group. Someone mentioned the Bailie Hotel was up for sale and that it could be worth a look at.”

What started as a short-term investment ended up being almost two decades in the hospitality industry and the family have now decided to call it a day.

“Everyone who was there at the start is still involved. Our idea was that we’d go in together and out together. When we went to buy in the beginning, we gave ourselves 10 years. Then I think you realise what happened after 10 years, the recession came and really wiped out that for us.”

With an asking price of €1.2 million, the 18-bed hotel also comes with a conference room, restaurant, coffee dock, bar and nightclub. Sixteen of the bedrooms are ensuite.

Tobin Estate Agents, who are handling the sale, describe the hotel as “constantly upgraded and maintained to a high standard by the current owners”.

While taking a hit during the recession, the hotel bounced back and has been a centrepiece in Bailieborough life. The Covid pandemic brought new challenges but Patrick says there was a strong effort to keep the doors open and keep as many of the 60 staff in employment.

The pandemic too helped focus minds.

“With the time off, it made us all take stock. I suppose we all looked and we have families and we decided ‘right, maybe it’s time for us to get out of this game’. It takes some commitment and, if you’re not fit to give that commitment, you won’t be in the game. We felt we gave it a real good commitment for 19 years.”

The Bailie Hotel was advertised publicly for sale last week, with a date for sale of September 2. However, there was interest prior to it being advertised.

The family, Patrick says, are holding off to see if a buyer can be found who wants to continue operating the hotel.

“We’ve pushed out the sale by three weeks. There are a few customers on it. We just want to see what we get at that stage and see what happens.

“That’s what we’re really hoping, that it would be kept as a hotel. Maybe we’d have pulled the lever on it if we were going another way but that’s what we really want.”

The hotel is one of a number of hospitality sites across Co Cavan that is being used to house Ukrainians fleeing the war in their home country following Russia’s invasion.

Among the speculation around the site’s future is that it could be closed and used solely to house refugees.

Further speculation, including that the hotel is set to be converted into apartments, has prompted concern from some in the community. Local TD Niamh Smyth says Bailieborough needs the hotel to stay open.

“In my mind it is one of the anchor businesses on our Main Street. I have felt for years the integrity of Main Street has been undermined by developments outside of the main area and a lack of connectivity.”

She has made representations to organisations like Fáilte Ireland and the Irish Hotels Federation in a bid to drum up interest in the property. “The Bailie Hotel is a thriving business,” said Deputy Smyth.

She hopes the food and beverage sections of the hotel, at the very least, will remain open to the public.

“I have to say Bailieborough as a community and as a town has welcomed Ukrainian refugees. Some are being accommodated in the Bailie Hotel. The McEnaney family have done a superb job in looking after their needs and still allowing it to function in the normal way.

“Anybody who might want to come in and keep a certain amount of the hotel to keep doing that, nobody would object to that because it’s already happening,” concluded Deputy Smyth.