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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 22 May, 2018
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Hotel tells couple 'to make alternative arrangements' for wedding less than two months away

The bride got an email informing her of the hotel’s closure on the way to her hen party.

weddings-at-middleton-park-house-2 Source: mph.ie

A HOTEL HAS told a couple they need to find an alternative venue for their wedding in just eight weeks.

Middleton Park House in Castletown Geoghegan, Co Westmeath has closed its doors, leaving several couples scrambling to find other venues.

In an email sent to a couple who were due to have their wedding ceremony and reception at the hotel on 14 May, Gerard Lynam, the director of the company that runs the hotel – Fredel Ltd, said the decision to close the hotel was made “with deep regret”.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 8.03.51 p.m. (1) edit

Can’t read the email? Click here.

The email states that the premises “require substantial work to make it comply with a fire enforcement notice”.

Lynam signs off the email by saying:

We would advise you to make alternative arrangements for your wedding.

The bride received the email just as she was leaving to go on her hen party.

The groom told TheJournal.ie the couple are “gutted” and have been planning the wedding since they got engaged in 2014. 14 May is a significant date for them as it marks their 11th anniversary.

The groom said they had heard rumours the hotel was set to close earlier this year, but staff reassured them the venue was “not bust” and their wedding “will go ahead as planned”.

He said the below email was sent in January.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 8.05.11 p.m. edit

Can’t read the email? Click here.

When the couple had difficulty getting in touch with the hotel in February, a staff member emailed them to let them know the hotel “closes every year for between 6 and 12 weeks at the start of the season as there is no demand”.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 8.06.24 p.m. edit

Can’t read the email? Click here.

“Why they didn’t tell us there were problems weeks ago we don’t know,” he said.

Now we find ourselves with a wedding dress, a band, cars, suits, relations coming home from abroad, but one thing missing: no venue and eight weeks to find one.

The couple live in Co Dublin and said they have no particular ties to Westmeath but decided to get married at the hotel after falling in love with the setting. As they’re not from the area, the groom said they had less reason to visit the hotel as often as someone who lived locally might.

He said they are lucky to have only lost their initial deposit – about €1,500, but are struggling to find another venue with less than two months to go. .

“We’re more disappointed that it just came out in an email. I wouldn’t like to have made that phone call either but it’s the least they could have done,” he said.

mph Source: Twitter

Catherine Ahern, another bride who has been affected, told us that rumours about a possible closure started circulating in January, with it being common knowledge locally.

She said staff members confirmed this was the case, telling her they had been let go.

Gradually we, along with many other couples, began trying to contact them which became impossible as there were no staff to answer calls or emails. We began taking to their Facebook page, voicing our concerns and telling them what we had been hearing. These comments were deleted.

Ahern said she was also told the hotel closed for a number of weeks every year. She claimed the length of this closure “increased as the weeks went on”.

She also lost her deposit and has since booked a new hotel for her reception.

“They could have called months ago and kept us informed.”

Refunds unlikely 

TheJournal.ie has tried to contact the hotel on numerous occasions in recent days. The hotel’s website is still live, but its Facebook page has been removed.

hotel fb Source: Facebook

In a statement to Midlands 103, Lynam confirmed the closure. He said seven employees have lost their jobs and 30 casual staff are affected.

Lynam said that 18 weddings were booked at the hotel between April and the middle of next year, and refunds are unlikely as Fredel Ltd has no cash or assets.

He said the hotel will not reopen for a long time, if at all.

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Órla Ryan

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