No buyers for drug lord's old mansion

Simon Brouder

A vacant Ring of Kerry mansion that was once owned by a Dutch drugs baron failed to attract a single bid when it was put up for auction last week.

Glashnacree House at Derryquin, a few miles from Sneem, was one of eight Kerry lots in a BidX1 (formerly Allsop) online auction last Wednesday.

The six bedroom Victorian mansion - which was built in 1822 on the Parknasilla estate - had a reserve price of €1.4 million but attracted no bidders.

The mansion - on an eight hectare site that also boasts two guest cottages, stables; tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool and its own small island - was seized from Dutch drug dealer Jan Hendrik Ijpelaar by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) in 2000.

In Holland in 1992 Ijpelaar - who had bought the luxury Kerry property for £300,000 the previous year - was convicted of leading an organised crime gang and the distribution of heroin, ecstasy and hashish.

The Rotterdam-based criminal was sentenced to six years in prison and was released in 1997 having served five years.

Ijpelaar had been a regular visitor to Kerry from the late 1980s until his arrest in 1992 and, supposedly, he was originally attracted to the Kenmare area by its large Dutch expat community.

Though a regular visitor, he maintained a low profile and he was rarely seen socialising in the area.

Gardai believe he last visited Glashnacree House in 1997, soon after his release from jail. It is thought that he spent several months there in 1992, prior to his arrest while in Holland for a family holiday.

During their High Court action to seize the property, CAB said Ijpelaar's purchase of the mansion was motivated by the potential for drug importation via Kenmare Bay.