Munster’s upscale restaurant and guesthouse, Aherne’s Seafood Restaurant of Youghal, is a €2million catch

One of the country’s best-known seafood restaurants and fine lodging businesses, Aherne’s of Youghal, has gone up for sale, just before celebrating 100 years in family ownership.

The thriving business on North Main St in East Cork City, near the River Blackwater and the Cork-Waterford border, is coming to market after being run by three generations of the Fitzgibbon family.

He is guided to €2million by estate agent Dominic Daly, who points out that the iconic premises are offered as a going concern and largely a consensual sale, by Fitzgibbon brothers Johnny and David, as well as their wives Katie and Gaye.

The brothers, both now in their 60s, are seeking to step back from day-to-day running of the substantial business, having taken over from their own parents in the early 1990s.

The 163 North Main St business began in 1923 when Jimmy and Madge Aherne took over a small local, apparently run by Madge as it was then. Jimmy was director of the local labor exchange and therefore could not have a private business.

The Ahernes passed the business on to their daughter Betty, who married a Dublin and Irish Army officer, Captain Gerry Fitzgibbon. The military connection continued when their son Johnny also enlisted, holding the same rank of captain for a time before retiring early from service, to serve the public more directly with his wife Katie, and his brother David and his wife Gaye.

Excellent outdoor kitchen, one of the many dining options at the sprawling property in Youghal Town

They added the accommodation suites on an expanded site in the early 1990s, to a mansard roof designed by architect Dominic O’Flynn, with a country house interior design and made by builder Jim Davis. The property has a C2 BER, an adjacent site with parking, greenhouse and herb beds, and has the option of adding up to 10 more bedrooms, says auctioneer Dominic Daly.

Formal dining room
Formal dining room
One of Aherne's 14 suites and rooms
One of Aherne’s 14 suites and rooms

Highly rated by a number of guidebooks and winning numerous awards over three decades, the luxury accommodation business of restaurants and townhouses with 14 large en-suite bedrooms and the owners’ apartment is part of Ireland’s elite Blue Book network of country houses, mansions and top restaurants. . The Blue Book’s voucher system is a key part of Ahernes’ high turnover, the family says.

The business has continued to trade well throughout the Covid-19 crisis and will continue until a handover to new owners is completed, the Fitzgibbon Johnny brothers, front of house, and David, who is the chef. Recent annual turnover has averaged 1.4 million euros per year, generally trading over a five-day week, it says, with the possibility of increasing it further on a seven-day trade. days.

Expressions of interest have already been shown by operators of high-end hotel businesses in Munster since news of a planned sale came in late 2021.

Now coming to the open market, Aherne’s can be purchased as an add-on/extension to a brand or ‘name’, or by experienced direct operators looking to upgrade to a proven business.

The family say Youghal has continued to bounce back, with things like the Ironman giving the town added profile and energy, and the success of the Waterford Greenway on the Dungarvan county border has impacted their business. They predict that the East Cork Greenway, along the old Cork-Youghal railway line, will boost Youghal’s profile and businesses in tandem.

    Katie and Johnny Fitzgibbon at the Aherne cocktail bar.  Photo Dan Linehan
Katie and Johnny Fitzgibbon at the Aherne cocktail bar. Photo Dan Linehan

The property has an outdoor space that can accommodate 80 people for special events (or alfresco dining), as well as a 60-seat formal restaurant, a 28-seat cocktail bar, a restaurant of 48 places, a breakfast room for residents of 16 places and residents. ‘living room with old fireplace.

Among the many original works of art lining the walls is a framed letter from Taoiseach Jack Lynch in 1970, thanking Captain and Mrs Fitzgibbon of Ahern’s Vintners for their hospitality.

    A note from former Taoiseach Jack Lynch at Aherne's Hotel & <a class=Seafood Restaurant Youghal, Co Cork. Photo Dan Linehan” title=” A note from former Taoiseach Jack Lynch at Aherne’s Hotel & Seafood Restaurant Youghal, Co Cork. Photo Dan Linehan” class=”card-img”/>
A note from former Taoiseach Jack Lynch at Aherne’s Hotel & Seafood Restaurant Youghal, Co Cork. Photo Dan Linehan

Other clients over the decades have included political leaders, entertainment figures from Ireland and abroad, sporting legends from the GAA, rugby and horse racing – but names are not knowingly disclosed by discreet hosts and “some had to be put to bed after a good night’s visit.”

DETAILS: Dominic Daly, 021-4277399


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