| 2.3°C Dublin

The €575,000 ‘Big House’ saved by a nice cup of tea – Sligo mansion for price of a mid-market suburban home in Dublin

Close

Castletown Manor is located at Cottlestown close to Enniscrone in Co Sligo

Castletown Manor is located at Cottlestown close to Enniscrone in Co Sligo

The house extends to 6,994 sq ft with accommodation on three levels

The house extends to 6,994 sq ft with accommodation on three levels

The house retains much of its 19th century period character and features

The house retains much of its 19th century period character and features

The property comes with extensive outbuildings

The property comes with extensive outbuildings

The house has six bedrooms with two en suite

The house has six bedrooms with two en suite

The main bathroom

The main bathroom

One of the living spaces

One of the living spaces

The kitchen

The kitchen

The view from one of the picture windows

The view from one of the picture windows

The main staircase

The main staircase

Dr Liam O’Síorain and his wife Carol-Ann bought the house in 2004

Dr Liam O’Síorain and his wife Carol-Ann bought the house in 2004

/

Castletown Manor is located at Cottlestown close to Enniscrone in Co Sligo

Castletown Manor, Cottlestown, Corballa, Co. Sligo Asking price: €575,000 Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Draper (071) 914 3710

During the Irish War of Independence (1919-21) and subsequent the Civil War (1922-23), it is reported that at least 275 ‘Big Houses’ across the country were destroyed, 199 of them by anti-Treaty forces during the latter conflict.

Those sent to do the job often helped residents to remove their prized possessions before dousing their property with petrol and setting it alight.

Dermot Bourke, the 7th Earl of Mayo and Baron of Naas, described the IRA guerrillas dispatched to destroy his home as being “excessively polite” and apologetic.

Those who came knocking on the door of Sligo’s Castletown Manor were even more obliging, ultimately agreeing to spare the sprawling 6,994 sq ft country pile after learning of its history over a cup of tea.

Current owner, palliative care consultant Dr Liam O’Síorain (pictured) discovered the reason why from a local woman who had worked in the house as a scullery maid in the 1930s.

Close

The house extends to 6,994 sq ft with accommodation on three levels

The house extends to 6,994 sq ft with accommodation on three levels

The house extends to 6,994 sq ft with accommodation on three levels

“She told me that women who lived here in the 1920s, relatives of the Boyd family, invited the IRA men in and made them tea,” he says. “They then went on to recount to their guests the history of the house and why they felt it should be saved.”

Home & Property

Get the best home, property and gardening stories straight to your inbox every Saturday.

This field is required

If walls could talk, this could have been an extremely lengthy conversation, but the hosts concentrated on key events.

It started when Cromwellian cavalry officer Robert Morgan dispossessed the O’Dowd family from their nearby ancestral castle in the 1650s and subsequently bagged a further 600 acres of surrounding lands, on which he built a dwelling he called Cottlestown House.

Close

The main staircase

The main staircase

The main staircase

Mark-Anthony Morgan, Robert’s grandson, added some Georgian era extras in the early 18th century including a courtyard, servants’ quarters, icehouse, coach house and a walled garden.

Further owners came and went, but of these, Major Thomas Jones was the one who was to go down in local folk memory.

A soldier turned solicitor with practices in Dublin and Sligo, he was also active in local community affairs as chairman of the Dromore Poor Law Union and during famine times, a member of the Easkey-Dromore Relief Committee.

Close

The house retains much of its 19th century period character and features

The house retains much of its 19th century period character and features

The house retains much of its 19th century period character and features

At a time when the population of Ireland was being decimated by starvation and emigration, the population of Cottlestown actually increased, with Jones creating jobs for the destitute by employing them to build a wall around his estate.

Now known as the Famine Wall, the construction still exists. Jones also set up a soup kitchen, serving local people from a vast pot, which remains in the courtyard to this day.

The squad sent to burn Castletown Manor were so inspired by the Boyd women’s account of Jones’s human decency over 70 years previously that they left this big house unharmed and went on their way.

Following Jones’s death aged 70 in 1858, the house was bought by Charles Boyd, who changed the named from Cottlestown House to Castletown Manor.

A few years later his son John built on a Victorian style extension, changing the orientation of the house from west to east, with a new main entrance.

Close

One of the living spaces

One of the living spaces

One of the living spaces

In more recent times, Castletown Manor became home to a pair of French restaurateurs who built a bar and a wine cellar in the basement.

When they left and Dr Liam O’Síorain and his wife Carol-Ann went to view the house in 2004, it was a case of love at first sight the minute they stepped through the door.

Close

Dr Liam O’Síorain and his wife Carol-Ann bought the house in 2004

Dr Liam O’Síorain and his wife Carol-Ann bought the house in 2004

Dr Liam O’Síorain and his wife Carol-Ann bought the house in 2004

“We planned on making this our full-time family home,” he says. “Unfortunately, before we could do that, one of our teenage sons was injured playing rugby and his arm was paralysed. As I was working in Dublin, we thought it best to remain based there while he got all the care he needed.

"Thankfully, he made a full recovery. Meanwhile, we ended up – unintentionally – with a large summer house.”

Close

The view from one of the picture windows

The view from one of the picture windows

The view from one of the picture windows

Set on five acres of land, the 6,994 sq ft two-storey-over-basement house has tons of original features including plasterwork, fireplaces, solid fuel range, staircase and period doors.

The entrance hall moves in and out of time, leading within a few steps from the Victorian period back 150 years to the Georgian era.

Close

The main bathroom

The main bathroom

The main bathroom

On the ground floor there’s a drawing room, dining room, reading/living room, two kitchens, shower room and WC. Upstairs are six bedrooms (two en suite) and a family bathroom.

Close

The house has six bedrooms with two en suite

The house has six bedrooms with two en suite

The house has six bedrooms with two en suite

Currently laid out with a wine cellar, bar room and storage rooms, the basement is in need of dry-lining and plastering, in return for which new owners would get an additional 2,000 sq ft of living space.

The house qualifies under Section 482 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, which allows owners tax relief on repairing, maintaining and restoring their properties, which must be made open to the public at certain times of the year.

Close

The kitchen

The kitchen

The kitchen

With their children now grown, the current owners have decided it’s time to pass the baton on to another family looking for a rural retreat.

“The setting is as peaceful as you can get,” says Liam. “There’s no traffic outside bar the odd sheep or cow.

“My fondest memories are of family summers when we’d spend long evenings in the garden, looking out towards the setting sun and listening to the sound of the roaring sea.

“Belleek Castle in Ballina 10km away has a fantastic restaurant and nearby Mount Falcon has one of the best salmon fisheries in Ireland. Our four children adored their time here.

“They went horse-riding and learned to become proficient surfers at Enniscrone beach. The local GAA club is less than 1km away and there are great golf courses on the doorstep, not to mention hiking and walking trails.”

Close

The property comes with extensive outbuildings

The property comes with extensive outbuildings

The property comes with extensive outbuildings

Liam and Carol-Ann installed a modern kitchen separate from the original Georgian kitchen-diner and recently had the house rewired.

“When you buy an old house like this you become its custodian, there to look after it and pass it on,” he says. “Castletown Manor is perfectly habitable as it is. Like any old house, it needs some work, but it doesn’t all have to be done at once.

"There’s no rush. I hope it will be bought by somebody with a sympathy for old buildings who will handle it gently and treasure it as the very special family home that it is.

“If new buyers were to spend €100,000 dry-lining and plastering the basement and the same amount on restoring the roof, they will get a truly fabulous house. Anything else can come later.”


Most Watched





Privacy