Tuesday 27 September 2016

Ireland's 10 most expensive country homes

Published 15/05/2016 | 02:30

Glin Castle
Glin Castle
Glin Castle
Milltown Park Estate
Ileclash House
Castlehyde
Castlehyde, Fermoy, Co. Cork was bought by Michael Flatley in 2001

Ireland's most luxurious countryside homes

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1 Castlehyde, Fermoy, Co Cork

What you get: 10 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, 150 acres, plus fishing rights on the River Blackwater

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Bought by Irish dancer Michael Flatley in 2001 for €3m, the 9,290 sqm derelict mansion required a total renovation. The 18th Century Castlehyde had at one time belonged to the family of Ireland's first president Douglas Hyde. In 2004, after a refurb at a cost of €27m, Flatley spent a further €20m to fit it out in a style becoming to the Lord of the Dance with the requisite gym, dance rehearsal room, splash pool, full bar, music room, cinema and a fantastic three-storey library filled with rare books.

Goffs Country (045) 981 048; Knight Frank (01) 634 2474

2 Westport House, Westport, Co Mayo

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What you get: 10+ bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 455 acres

This is a landmark building with generous parklands, ancient woodlands and water features, including a stretch of the Carrowbeg River. It has been the seat of the Earls of Altamont since the 17th Century and is believed to have been built on the site of the pirate queen Granuaile's castle. Designed by the classical architect Richard Cassels who was responsible for other historic Irish buildings such as Carton House and Leinster House, it was completed by James Wyatt. At 3,350 sqm, the house is vast with 10 bedroom suites, and even has a dungeon. There's a wealth of decorative history in the ornate plasterwork and parquet flooring - there's even hand-painted Chinese wallpaper in one of the bedrooms. The estate also comes with a five-bedroom coach house and stable yard, numerous cottages, a caravan park, a pirate adventure park and an adventure park and has an established reputation as a tourism resort with 162,000 visitors in 2014 alone.

Ganly Walters (01) 662 3255

3 Liss Ard Estate, Castletownshend Road, Skibbereen, Co Cork

What you get: 163-acre estate, including the famous James Turrell-designed Sky Garden and a 40-acre lake.

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4 Glin Castle Glin, Co Limerick

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What you get: 15+ bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, 23 acres within a larger estate of 380 acres, including 92 acres of woodlands and 264 of pasture

A slice of Irish heritage - Desmond FitzGerald, the 29th Knight of Glin, along with Desmond Guinness and the Irish Georgian Society, was responsible for salvaging many an historic Irish building from demolition or ruin, and in the process raising the profile of Irish antiques and architecture. The castle itself was built in the 1780s and has been home to the FitzGeralds ever since. Today, it's a tribute to the best of Irish and European craftsmanship with superb plasterwork and carvings, marble mantelpieces, a unique flying staircase (no, not like Hogwarts) and many other treasures curated by the Knight of Glin. His wife, author and inspired gardener Madam Olda FitzGerald, is the genius behind the gardens and her daughter Catherine, a landscape architect, fashioned the 23-acre pleasure gardens. Catherine's work - and that of her husband actor Dominic West - takes her abroad frequently, while her two sisters no longer live in Ireland. The Knight of Glin died in 2011 and Madam Olda and the family have decided to sell the historic property. The castle served as a hotel up to the crash and could, with little work, be used for accommodation again.

Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes (01) 237 6300; Colliers International (01) 633 3700

5 Borleagh Manor Gorey, Inch, Co Wexford

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What you get: 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 154 acres with a training gallop, tennis court, thatched cottage, gardener's house, stable yard, lake and summerhouse, walled garden

The avenue to Borleagh is an impressive introduction to the property: 1km long, it winds through old beech and parkland to a sweep of gravel in front of the porticoed Georgian house. Built in the early 1700s and rebuilt in the Georgian style in the 1840s, the house has all the trimmings needed for a gentleman's (or woman's) life - fine reception rooms that include a library and conservatory, relaxed kitchen and cosy den, while in the basement there are games rooms, a wine cellar, boot room and snooker room. It comes as a surprise to find there are just four bedrooms upstairs - however, they are magnificent with en suites and, for the master bedroom, there's also a dressing room. Guests can be happily accommodated in one of the two cottages on the estate where no doubt they will enjoy wandering through the formal gardens, visiting the generous stable yard or taking a stroll through the walled garden.

Colliers International (01) 633 3700

6 Mountainstown House Navan, Co Meath

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What you get: 9 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 120 acres, courtyard and stable yard, outhouses, garden house, keeper's cottage and formal garden

This is a fine Georgian property built in 1740 with many of its original features intact, including superb marble fireplaces, cornices and decorative plasterwork. Mountainstown was extensively restored in the late 1980s with a new roof and rewiring installed. The basement houses a party room, billiards room, gym, garden room and music room. Upstairs on the first and attic floors there are enough bedrooms to accommodate a large house party, with many rooms en suite while the family bathroom boasts its own marble fireplace. Set in the rich farmlands - and hunting country - of Co Meath, Mountainstown has lush pasturelands as well as both mature and young woodlands.

Savills (01) 663 4350

7 Ileclash House Fermoy, Co Cork

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What you get: 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 12 acres, including 2km of riverbank, two guest cottages, a walled garden and an island

Perched on a rocky outcrop looking out over the River Blackwater, just half an hour's drive from Cork, Ileclash is set in one of the most sought-after locations for an Irish country home. With enough grounds to ensure privacy, drop-dead views, and an 18th-Century house that has been immaculately restored at a cost of €2m, Ileclash comes with fishing rights, groomed lawns, rockeries, lily ponds, a formal box hedge garden and even offers the distraction of caves hollowed out from the limestone along the river. Inside, the house has been restored to its Georgian heyday, and there is even an atmospheric library just made for those rainy summer afternoons.

Agent: Colliers International (01) 633 3700

8 Tullyard Trim, Co Meath

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What you get: 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 189 acres (or €2.5m for 100 acres), woodland and parkland, courtyard, cottages, coach house, tennis court and orchard

This Georgian two-storey house with a three-storey wing to one side was built in 1820 and has functioned as a well-managed farm for many years. It was owned by the Winter family from its construction until 1928 and has had just three owners since then. Well maintained with high ceilings, sash windows, wooden floors and generously proportioned rooms, Tullyard has a double-height hallway with a cantilevered staircase leading to a first-floor gallery. Like many houses of the period, it has the public rooms to the front off the hallway, with an inner hallway leading to the spaces devoted to the smooth running of the house - the offices, kitchen, larder, laundry and WC.

REA T A Potterton (046) 901 7021; Ganly Walters (01) 662 3255

9 Tynte Park Dunlavin, Co Wicklow

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What you get: 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 144 acres of walled parkland, with a duck pond, tennis court, coach yard with six stables, barn and walled garden

Not too many properties can boast that their original owners also owned the nearby village. But the Tyntes of Tynte Park were the landowners of most of the pretty village of Dunlavin and the surrounding area. Built around 1830 in the neo-classical style, the house has an impressive entrance hall with cantilevered staircase leading to a first floor gallery and an equally impressive ballroom with sprung parquet floor - this was a house built for entertaining. In addition to the reception rooms, a large kitchen, utility, laundry and boot room are housed in a single-storey extension, while the basement comprises more space for those little extras - the wine cellar, a shower room, billiards room and two bedrooms.

Savills (01) 663 4350

10 Milltown Park Estate Shinrone, Co Offaly

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What you get: 8 bedrooms 2 bathrooms, 285 acres of walled estate, walled garden, ruined cottage and a quadrangle of traditional model farm buildings

This Palladian pile has a lot of charm - and history - in its 285-acre package. Built in 1720, it is still owned by the family who have lived on the estate since the 1500s. It has, say the owners, good bones but will need some work in terms of reconfiguring bedrooms and bathrooms, but it has beautiful stucco work, a dovecot, an ice house and a former cock pit - the owners, the Spunner family, were keen on their blood sports - while the model farm buildings date from the 1840s.

Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes (01) 237 6300

Sunday Independent

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