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Last Updated: Monday, 9 January 2006, 19:56 GMT
Forest castle bought for 1,000
Gosford Castle
The castle needs repairs put at about 4m
A castle in County Armagh has been sold by the government for just 1,000.

Gosford Castle, near Markethill, is in a poor state of repair and has been bought by a development company which plans to turn it into private homes.

The estimated 4m repair bill will be footed by Gosford Castle Developments, chosen by a government-appointed panel.

Agriculture minister Lord Rooker said the deal they had made would secure the restoration of Northern Ireland's largest Grade A listed building.

Lord Rooker said that "after a difficult era", the future of Gosford Castle was "looking bright again".

"This will be good news for County Armagh as a whole," he added.

"The project has the potential to give a boost to business in Markethill and the wider rural area as a spin-off from the construction activities to be undertaken at the castle."

Gosford Forest Park will still be open to the public while the work is carried out.

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