This year saw a notable revival in the sale of 'landed' country properties.
The flagship deal of the year undoubtedly was Westport House on 455ac. In a sale handled by Ganley Walters, it sold for a figure that was somewhat shy of €10m.
The original house built here in the 1650s by Colonel John Brown was constructed on the site of Grace O'Malley's castle. In fact Brown married Gráinneuaile's great, great granddaughter, Maude Burke.
The house went through various changes and alterations over the centuries with the current structure, extending to 38,210sqft, dating from the 18th century and consisting of a nine-bay front and wings to either side.
The accommodation includes 10 bedrooms and a wide range of reception rooms. Extending to 10,500ac at its height in recent times the estate was set on 455ac of farmland and pleasure grounds.
The house opened its doors to the public in the 1960s, the first Irish stately home to do so and became one of the top visitor attractions in the West.
During the economic crash the property came under financial pressure and the Brown family worked to sell it. In the course of the protracted sale a 40ac portion was acquired by Mayo Co Council while the house on 415ac was bought by the Hughes family, a well-known business family in the area who own Portwest and the Hughes Group.
Ganly Walters also handled the sale of Lake Park, Roundwood in Co Wicklow on 100ac that made in excess of €3.5m. Built in 1935 as a hunting lodge the house is located on the shores of Lough Dan 2km from Roundwood. It was fully refurbished in 2009 and includes six reception rooms, six bedrooms, an office, an atrium and other spaces.
Out of doors there is a 1ac formal walled garden and the range of gardens fully restored and developed under the watchful and expert eye of renowned garden designer Daphne Levinge Shackleton. A courtyard is home to a wide range of equestrian facilities.
The land extends to 110ac with protected native forests of beech, birch and oak and a rare piece of ancient oak woodland by the lake that has existed since before the 16th Century.
The house has a rich literary history with connections to Edna O'Brien and poet Richard Murphy.
Beamond House at Bellewstown in Co Meath is a two-storey over basement, late Georgian residence set on 30ac, in a sale handled by Ganly Walters this was sold by private treaty for a price in the region of €1.6m.
Located close to Bellewstown and 10 minutes from Drogheda the property is approached via a tree-lined drive and set among specimen trees and mature gardens bordering a wide stretch of the River Nanny.
The place was refurbished over the years and the accommodation includes a drawing room, a bow shaped dining room with full-length windows, a fully fitted kitchen, a morning room and a family sitting room.
During the renovations the basement was transformed into an elegant self-contained garden apartment with a kitchen cum living room, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
On the first floor are five principal bedrooms with lovely views of the land and the river and three bathrooms with cast iron baths and showers.
The farm and equestrian facilities include an inner yard that hosts a tack shed, a five-column open barn and eight stables. The outer courtyard has a three-column barn, five pony stalls, three stables, a range of stone outbuildings and a sheltered sand arena to the side. The courtyards have a separate entrance from the road.
The house is set amid 31ac of good Meath ground laid out in three big fields and all in one block with the River Nanny running through it. The holding has extensive road frontage on to two roads, the Julianstown to Duleek Road and on to the Bellewstown road.
Longfield House is an architecturally designed property at Killtimon, Newcastle in Co Wicklow. The property was sold by private treaty for in excess of €1.3m.
Located within 5km of the village of Newcastle and 38km from Dublin city centre the property includes a two-bedroom cottage and a substantial yard.
Set out in three distinct areas the house includes reception rooms, bedrooms, a kitchen and dining areas, which flow to create a wonderful home. The entire property has the benefit of high ceilings throughout, timber sash windows and solid timber doors.
The various spaces include an entrance hall, drawing room, living room, morning room, kitchen/dining room, five bedrooms and three bathrooms.
The cottage stands just outside the main house and is fully self-contained, decorated and maintained to a very high standard.
Longfield is set out on 77ac of land surrounded by woodland. Currently in tillage the land is described by Celia Lamb as good fertile soil with natural boundaries.
Forestry surrounds the outer boundaries of the fields with some old woodland and some recently planted trees.
The yard includes substantial buildings with a gross floor area 21,990sqft and is laid out in five large warehouse type buildings originally used for rearing poultry but have since been modified for dry goods storage. This area is serviced with three-phase electricity.
According to Celia Lamb the last few weeks have been particularly busy with many properties on the books for a while suddenly beginning to move and sell.