Haunted castle fails to scare off keen bidders in €11m auction
A GHOST estate and a castle with its own ghost both fetched several times their reserve at an auction yesterday which saw 78 apartments, houses and other properties sold for €11.3m.
Around 2,000 buyers, investors and curious onlookers packed into the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin for the Allsop Space auction where a hotel, a pub and a prime Georgian house were among the properties on offer.
A heated battle between at least six bidders reflected keen interest in the 14-house Annagh Banks estate on the edge of Castlemaine, on the picturesque Ring of Kerry.
With a reserve of €50,000, bids mounted rapidly until a telephone bidder won the property for €235,000, just edging out Kerry auctioneer Brendan Mannix, who estimated it would cost in the region of €600,000 to get the development ready for buyers or renters.
The historical Whites Castle, on the banks of the River Barrow and in the heart of Athy town, Co Kildare, also proved a major draw, with a proxy bidder paying €195,000, almost four times the reserve price of €50,000.
The bidder was representing a US-based family originally from Co Galway. They plan to renovate the castle, built in 1417, as a family home but may not realise it already has a sitting tenant -- a ghost.
The biggest price of the day was for a mid-terrace Georgian building in Dublin's Merrion Square, which went for €400,000 above its reserve, at €1,420,000
And The Stout Bar in Rathmines sold for €835,000, €235,000 above its reserve. Auctioneer Gary Murphy was interrupted twice by emotional appeals from those affected by distressed properties on sale at the auction.
Billy O'Sullivan, from Waterford, said he was a small businessman who had installed much of the bar equipment at The Stout Bar. He said he was down €125,000 after the owner went out of business and appealed to potential buyers to return his equipment.
"I'm not in a position to pass title of any of my goods that I wasn't paid for to anybody," he said.
There were bargains to be had too, however, with a three-bedroom semi in Killiney, Co Dublin, going for €222,000. While the price was well in excess of the €95,000 reserve, it was almost €100,000 lower than the current asking price for other homes in the same estate.
Daniel O'Toole (18), who just sat his Leaving Certificate, said he had "butterflies in my stomach" after he won the bidding war for lot 29 -- six apartments in the popular tourist town of Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford, for which he paid €122,500.
It was Mr O'Toole's first foray into the property market and he said, while it was "nervewracking", it was also a good experience.
Among those who went home with their money in their pocket was Tom Donoghue, who flew in from England yesterday in search of a bargain.
Mr Donoghue, who bought a Clondalkin property in the March auction, had his eye on lot 68, a two-bedroom apartment in Glasnevin, with a reserve of €70,000.
However, he pulled out as the bidding climbed to a final price of €98,000.
Mr Donoghue, who only started investing in property earlier this year, said he believed the Irish auctions offered better value for money.
He plans to be at the next Allsop Space auction on October 3, 2012.