WHAT is it about Co Cork, and costly castles?
A river Blackwater castle, done up to host fishing parties on the famous angling river, along with a more modern Georgian manor farmhouse with swimming pool in a converted stable block, has just landed an overseas buyer for about €1.8 million.
The c €1.8m 'catch' is the part-restored 16th-century tower house, Carrigacunna and the adjacent period house near Mallow, Co Cork. It has been owned by a couple from the UK, who bought it in 1996 and who invested steadily, and heavily, in its restoration.
Coincidentally, it's the second Co Cork castle to sell in recent weeks for a multi-million euro sum. A month ago, the quite luxurious Kilfinnan Castle in West Cork's Glandore harbour, sold for €6m, for the estate of the late UK/Irish developer, Bernard McNicholas, to a couple with mixed West Cork and Far East roots.
While at that top €6m sale in Glandore harbour was for a coastal hot-spot, the successful sale of Carrigacunna on the renowned salmon angling river the Blackwater shows, once more, that Irish waters, be they oceans or rivers, are a key to unlocking multi-million euro property values.
It's understood the buyer of the river-set property on 50 acres is from the US, with a background in real estate: Carrigacunna went for sale in summer 2018, through joint agents Michael H Daniels in Cork, and Sotheby's, with a guide price of €1.85m.
Carrigacurra now appears as 'sold' on Mr Daniels website, but he has declined to confirm the price, thought to be very close to the €1.85m guide, or to identify the buyer, reported to be US-based with Irish connections.
By a coincidence of timing, the Blackwater's Carrigacunna came to market around the same time that dancer and entertainer Michael Flatley cut the asking price on his private Co Cork pile, Castlehyde, down to 'just' €12.5 million via Sotheby's.
He slashed €7.5m off the price ask three years after he had first launched it at a hefty €20 million.
Now four years on the market, the lavishly restored (Michael Flatley says €30m was spent) mansion with swimming pool remains unsold, but sources say there may be moves afoot to land a buyer too for Castlehyde, a Palladian mansion on 150 River Blackwater acres near Fermoy, just a few miles downriver from Mallow and the just-sold Carrigacunna.
The 500-year-old historic tower house scanning about a kilometre of Blackwater river frontage, is now weatherproofed and secured for future centuries.
However, while it has been used to hose dinner and fishing lunch parties, it's not been fully to a habitable state, although its has water and a power supply.
The castle, plus renovated 7,000 sq ft private home, had attracted mostly overseas interest, with UK inquiries more muted given Brexit concerns, and Sterling's weakness.
Carrigacunna was the home for over 20 years of former graphic designer Rod Springett, and his wife Ros, an artist.
Among Co Cork's more famous castle owners is actor Jeremy Irons, who restored the far more ruined 15th Century Kilcoe Castle near Skibbereen, in the late 1990s, just after the Springetts bought Carrigacunna.
And, in a continuing trend of castle salvation, the rescue of Belvelly Castle, near the Fota Estate on Cork harbour's Great Island, is set to feature in the RTÉ series Great House Revival, after a recent, appreciative visit by architect Hugh Wallace.
Coincidentally a previous owner of Belvelly Castle was UK architect Peter Inston, who had advised Michael Flatley on Castlehyde's restoration but who didn't spend any further sums himself on Belvelly, which he had bought as a shell.