A GoFundMe has been circulating in Irish American circles in recent days that is aiming to raise $2,500,000 to purchase The Golden Hill House, which operates as Gavin’s Irish Country Inn, in Cornwallville, near East Durham, New York.

"I believe we all can raise $2,500,000 to purchase The Golden Hill House," Andy Cooney wrote on the GoFundMe page entitled "Help Keep The Tradition Alive" that he launched with Seamus Balfe this month.

"The resort includes 20 acres of land with a stream and waterfall on the parameters of the property.

"Seamus and I don’t have that kind of money, but I think if we all come together, we can raise it."

Cooney adds: "This will be a 30-day campaign. At the end of the 30 days, if we do not reach our goal, we will assess where we are at and see what kind of financing we can get to bring these efforts to the finish line.

"If for some reason we are unsuccessful, every dime of every donation will be returned.

"If we exceed our goal, we will invest those funds into the property.

"If we raise $3,500,000, we will move forward to purchase the entire property that would include the 2 houses across the street from the resort and an additional 20 acres."

Cooney adds: "Any donations of $500 or higher will be credited towards your stay at The Golden Hill House."

At the time of publication on Thursday evening, the GoFundMe has raised more than $31,000 across 130 donations.

Gavin's Irish Country Inn has been a mainstay in the East Durham area - affectionately known as 'The Irish Alps' - since the 1960s. The area remains a popular spot for Irish and Irish Americans throughout the tri-state area to escape to during the summer months, though it's enduring a considerable downturn in traffic since its heyday.

Bernadette Gavin-Palmieri, a third-generation innkeeper at Gavin's, told IrishCentral on Tuesday that she and her family are not involved with the GoFundMe.

She did, however, confirm that the property is on the market, and realtor Ted Banta shared the listing with IrishCentral on Tuesday evening.

On Thursday, Banta confirmed with IrishCentral: "The offering of the sale of Gavin's Resort - Gavin's Irish County Inn - is historic and has gained great interest from potential buyers.

"Gavin's Resort is fully available for purchase.

"We had one verbal agreement with a buyer and this buyer has not moved forward with a deposit, a binder, or a contract."

(Cooney notes on his and Balfe's GoFundMe that "neither deposit has been received nor contract executed" for the property.)

Gavin-Palmieri told IrishCentral that Gavin’s Irish Country Inn will open on April 25 and run through October 27 this year, operated by the Gavin and Palmieri families, with her and her husband as the innkeepers. According to the resort's website, live music will be offered several nights a week throughout the summer, including in the resort's on-site Gavin's Pub.

Keen to be transparent with the resort's loyal guests, Gavin-Palmieri noted that Gavin's will be accepting reservations for future years, however, if the property is sold, guests will be informed by March 1 next year and refunds will be issued.

Meanwhile, Cooney and Balfe - who previously teamed up to help revitalize the East Durham Irish Festival after the pandemic - each told IrishCentral on Wednesday night that they've mounted the GoFundMe campaign in the hope of preserving not only Gavin's, but also the wider and deep-rooted Irish culture of the area.

“I do have a voice," Cooney told IrishCentral. "I could sit by and be idle and let this all happen, but there’s just too many people who care about East Durham."

Cooney, an Irish American entertainer who has performed at Gavin's in the past, and Balfe, a native of Co Limerick who has had a hand in revitalizing East Durham's Irish American community in recent years, described their efforts in a statement as "a community-based, grass-roots effort ... with the goal to purchase the property and continue its operation for future generations as a family Irish resort."

Cooney said in the statement: “I wish I were able to purchase this historic destination property outright.

"I got to thinking of ways to continue the brilliant legacy of the Gavin family and The Golden Hill House. Although unconventional, the GoFundMe campaign makes perfect sense."

Balfe added: "We will couple our energy with the energy of our contributors.

"We also have this remarkable love for and deep roots in for the Irish Alps, and the skills and passion to continue The Golden Hill House as a resort hotel for generations to come."

Balfe and Cooney say they will "assess the status of the campaign" on or around April 15 "to determine whether additional financing can be obtained to purchase the property."

Cooney says: “If the campaign is unsuccessful and we are unable to purchase The Golden Hill House, every dime of every donation will be returned.

"In fact, GoFundMe controls the donations; refunds are easily processed.”