Three beautiful Irish castles with huge restoration potential
Beagh Castle, on the south side of the Shannon Estuary near Ballysteen in west Limerick, has a chequered past.
It was first owned by a Knight of Glin, and later by a Cromwellian. It became a defensive outpost in the Napoleonic wars, and later the site of a coastguard station. It has an adjoining quay, built in 1904, where the Shannon packet steamer stopped.
The 17-acre site on which the castle stands includes a row of coastguard cottages, and there was planning (now expired) to turn the lot into holiday homes.
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One of the conditions was that the castle be preserved as a ruin, but the planners may be persuaded out of that if you've your heart set on a functioning riverside fortification.
Beagh Castle is for sale for €275,000 with auctioneer Helen Cassidy (094) 954 6868, who recommends it to buyers with "a passion for history, a large tax liability in this country and money to spend".
A TOWER OF STRENGTH
Putting it rather mildly, the selling agents say Sigginstown Castle, near Tacumshane, Co Wexford, "would lend itself to refurbishment".
It was already in ruins by the time of the second-edition ordnance survey maps, so there's a lot to do.
The castle is said to have been built by the Norman De Sygan family, who were later dispossessed by Cromwell. It's a five-storey tower adjoining a much later brick-built two-storey house.
There's a spiral staircase inside with a lookout at the top, and it's on five-and-a-half acres.
It has a latrine chute, in case you run out of money before the plumbing is installed, and there's a machicolation over the door, through which you can fire missiles at the neighbours if they complain.
The castle is 20 minutes' drive from Rosslare and half an hour or so by car from Wexford.
It's for sale for €250,000 through Keane Auctioneers in Wexford (053) 912 3072.
Reports differ as to the age of Belvelly Castle, near Cobh, Co Cork.
It may date from the 13th or the 15th century, but it was already described as a ruin by the mid-1800s.
Its most recent occupants were the Irish Army, who took it over during the Emergency and left concrete gun slits as evidence of their tenancy.
There has been planning permission to restore this 80ft tower house and, as it is 4,200 sq ft in size, it might be turned into quite the mansion, complete with murder hole.
The quarter-acre site on which it stands amounts to little more than its own footprint.
However, it's an impressive site, overlooking the estuary and Belvelly Bridge linking Fota Island and Great Island.
It's right on the edge of the water, and also right on the road.
The agent is Helen Cassidy of Premier Properties Ireland (094) 954 6868, and the asking price is €275,000.