Couple pay royal sum for West Cork coastal castle

Kilfinnan Castle, Glandore, Co Cork, is on five acres with its own pier, beach, and views over the Wild Atlantic Way.

A West Cork coastal castle has just been sold for close to €6m, making it one of Munster’s strongest property sales in more than a decade.

A deal has been approved this week on Kilfinnan Castle, Glandore, in one of the most glorious seaside settings nationally, in an already proven property hotspot sharing a gilded stretch of coastline with Shorecliffe, the former holiday home of former business baron, Tony O’Reilly.

It has been bought for a record sum by a couple with local and international roots. 

She is from a West Cork parish, he is from the Far East, and they intend to live in the luxurious, updated, and flat-roofed 9,000sq ft castle with five acres, which has its own pier, beach, and views over the Wild Atlantic Way.

Rumours of the imminent multimillion-euro deal had been circulating in West Cork since before Christmas, and now a sale brokered by Skibbereen-based agent Charles P McCarthy is just over the line. 

The sale is part of the estate of the late UK-based Irish construction and engineering magnate, Mayo-born Bernard McNicholas, who died in 2015 aged in his 70s. His death notice said he was late of London, Glandore, and Bohola.

Mr McNicholas had bought Kilfinnan around 30 years ago, having holidayed locally for some time in the catchment near Skibbereen for several years beforehand, with his wife Patricia O’Sullivan, who had family roots in nearby Leap.

Second-generation Irish in the British construction sector, Mr McNicholas oversaw a firm which at one stage grew from 50 to more than 2,000 employees, gaining considerable wealth, a portion of which he diverted to rescuing parts of Kilfinnan Castle. 

It has a section dating to the 1600s, and was in danger of crumbling into the sea at the time of his purchase.

Mr McNicholas bought Kilfinnan Castle from its then German owner, via a High Court tender process understood to have been about £350,000 — even then, a sky-high price. 

He died in 2015, predeceased by his first wife Patricia, and was survived by his second wife Pauline, son, and three daughters, and is buried locally at Kilfaughnabeg Cemetery, Glandore.

Coincidentally the new unidentified owners also have a very local family link and have holidayed in and around Glandore in recent years.

The tiny village, near the fishing port of Union Hall, is about a 90-minute spin from Cork Airport and has already set regional property price records.

A pristine, restored Georgian home called Seamark on five acres in the same area sold in 2012 for €4m.

In 2015, Shorecliffe, the former holiday home of Tony O’Reilly, sold on six acres close to Kilfinnan Castle, complete with main ‘modest’ Georgian house, mews, and apartment, along with swimming pool and tennis court for the ‘bargain’ price of €1.5m.

Glandore once more ups the ante on West Cork, Munster, and Irish property values outside of Dublin.

But, last night, estate agent Charles McCarthy declined to confirm local reports of a €6m sale.

Seafield House in Castletownshend is considered the best-sited Munster coastal property.
Seafield House in Castletownshend is considered the best-sited Munster coastal property.

Asked if Kilfinnan Castle was, indeed, the best-sited Munster coastal property, he observed, “no, that would be Seafield, in Castletownshend”. 

Seafield went on the market in December 2018, carrying a €4m price guide via an estate agent who has just sold a castle off-market for 50% more than Seafield’s asking price.

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