The new leaseholders of Necarne Estate are aiming to “bring it back to its former beauty” and put it back on the map as a “spectacular tourism and event venue”, a spokesman told The Impartial Reporter this week.

In February, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council agreed a 99-year lease with Gardrum Holdings in respect to Necarne Estate.

Now, under the new name of Castle Irvine Necarne Demesne, works are well under way to bring the estate back to life, with a number of events having already taken place this Autumn.

A spokesman for Castle Irvine told this newspaper that since the completion of the lease from the Council in July, their focus has been towards the preservation and refurbishment throughout the estate, aiming to “bring it back to its former beauty”.

He continued: “Our initial strategy has been to promote the estate as an event venue and to welcome all the current and future users of the estate,” noting how the estate has remained open to all visitors to walk and enjoy the grounds.

“We are always surprised at the number of local people who have never been to Castle Irvine Necarne before. The feedback received has been very encouraging,” he added.

Outlining some of the events that have taken place at the estate, the spokesman said: “We hosted the annual Fermanagh Harriers Point to Point in September; unfortunately this event had to be for competitors only, with no spectators or general public permitted access, due to Covid restrictions.

“Earlier this year, we were delighted to be approved by Show Jumping Ireland to host a leg of their Tri Equestrian Autumn Pony league.

“This was the first show-jumping event hosted by Castle Irvine; the two-day event was very well supported by competitors throughout Northern Ireland. The event was ran under strict Covid guidelines,” he added.

Andrew Thompson, Chairman of Show Jumping Ireland, Pony Ulster Region, said: “It was fantastic to be back in Castle Irvine Necarne – such a beautiful and brilliant facility.

“We are very lucky to have Castle Irvine in our local area and also within the Ulster Region. We thank Castle Irvine for hosting this event and hope to be back their very soon.”

Expanding its possibilities beyond equestrian events, Castle Irvine hosted an outdoor cinema within the historic walled garden of the estate at Hallowe’en.

The event was ran by local company, Complete AV Solutions, in association with Mahon’s Hotel, which provided a takeaway delivery service to customers’ cars.

“This was a ticket-only event and was sold out for all shows. We are already in discussions with Garrett [Henderson, Complete AV Solutions] and Joe [Mahon, Mahon’s Hotel] as we plan to host similar events in the future,” said the company spokesman.

Other events had been scheduled to take place at Castle Irvine this year, but had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

The spokesman said: “We had agreed with Fermanagh Motorcycle Club and the Northern Ireland Caravan and Camping Club to host events this year; both unfortunately were cancelled at short notice, due to lockdown restrictions.

“We’re still in regular contact with both and are confident of welcoming both in 2021.”

Following much-needed arena improvements works, Castle Irvine has now released two arenas for use by the general public for private hire.

“We have been delighted with the response from our customers; the facilities have been in use every day since being opened at the beginning of November.

“It was especially nice to see local pony clubs and local equine coaches making regular use of the facilities.

“We will continue to invest in the facilities throughout the estate,” said the spokesman.

Speaking of plans for the future of the estate, the spokesman said: “We are busy talking with other sporting bodies, companies and advisors as we continue our aim of putting Castle Irvine Necarne back on the map as a spectacular tourism and event venue, that will increase visitor numbers not only to the estate, but also to Irvinestown and beautiful County Fermanagh.”