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Long-term lessees acquire Down Royal country pub with support from Ulster Bank

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Down Royal Racecourse

25th Sep 2023

Bank supports six-figure acquisition of Gowdy’s of Down Royal

Situated next to Down Royal Racecourse, country gastropub Gowdy’s of Down Royal has been acquired by its long-term lessees as part of a six-figure investment supported by Ulster Bank.

Husband and wife duo Tara and Declan Walsh first met while working in bars on various cruise liners where both were employed for over a decade in the 1990s. Moving back to Northern Ireland, they continued to work in the hospitality sector, running a number of local bars before taking up positions together in Gowdy’s of Down Royal.

It was in 2014 that the opportunity arose for them to take on the lease of the premises after an extended period of closure for the business.

Based in Lisburn, Gowdy’s of Down Royal, is a family-friendly country pub serving home cooked food at an affordable price point for customers.

Supported by long-term manager Frances and a 30-strong team, its unique position beside Down Royal Racecourse has led it to become a go-to destination for spectators to the course’s 12 annual race meetings, during which time the business is transformed to accommodate the significantly increased demand.

Ulster Bank business development manager Lee White said: “We’re so pleased to help Tara and Declan acquire this established business. Their knowledge and proven experience combined with their enthusiasm and vision demonstrates not only its significant growth and transformation over the past decade but the great future it has ahead under their ownership.”

For almost a decade now under Tara and Declan’s management, Gowdy’s of Down Royal has grown significantly, with turnover doubling and staff headcount increasing three-fold.

Tara said: “We are thrilled to finally be able to say that we are the proud owners of Gowdy’s of Down Royal. We always knew we wanted to buy the business – as far back as 2014 when we first took over the lease. Over the past decade we’ve put a lot of time and energy into building the business up to where it is today and re-establishing the brand as a go-to destination.”

Declan added: “We are very thankful to have our vision supported by Lee and the team at Ulster Bank. Without this, our new venture would simply not have been possible. They have helped make this process really smooth and easy. Truly, this support has turned our dream into a reality.”