The big house jackpot

A DECADE ago this newspaper carried a regular slot called The Lotto House – looking at that week’s dream offering you could possibly buy with a £1 million National Lottery win.

The slot sort of ran its course around the same time that a single Lotto Jackpot often wasn’t even enough to buy that dream country pile or city pad.

Now, with country estates down 50% in value, a decent Euromillions win might just buy a small Irish county.

Roll back the decade and 1999 was the year that dancer Michael Flatley paid £2.5m for Castlehyde in Cork, and he has since invested ten times that amount on its upgrades. Flatley ended the noughties with his plans for a second Irish home, on a Kerry island, being flatly refused by planners as he didn’t meet local needs criteria.

1999 was also the year that the State paid £23m (€29m) for Farmleigh House on 78 acres in the Phoenix Park, and a Foxrock home Hollybrook made £8.3m, while 16 new homes in the Carrickmines Wood development sold for in and around £1m – each a Lotto sort of sum, remember. Carrickmines is still fairly special: at market peak in 2005, a member of the Doyle hotels dynasty sold his home, Barringtons Tower, for €36m. Top Dublin house sale of the extraordinary decade just ending was Walford, on Shrewsbury Road, making a staggering €58m in 2005. Developer Sean Dunne has repeatedly denied being the buyer of Walford on its Monopoly-board address, and reversed the usual Monopoly game tactic of putting up hotels on prime slots. He ended 2009 with a painful planning refusal for his D4 hotels site €1.5 bn plan, having paid €379m in assembly costs for a spot he’d hoped to put a 37-storey tower on.

2004 saw one of Munster’s strongest ever sales, some €12m paid for the Ballinatray Estate near Youghal.

Down Cork way at the turn of the Millennium, 1999 was the year when a couple of Kinsale houses sold for £1.25m and £1.7m, and land at Dunkathel House first sold for £10m, with plans still being worked on by subsequent buyers O’Flynn Construction a decade later for up to 1,200 new homes. That year also saw the same developers OFC go for planning for Mount Oval Village, which is now complete and home to 800 houses and apartments, some of which sold in the €1.2m to €1.3m price bracket around peak time.

In 1999, the late Louis and Loretta Glucksman bought the period East Grove House in Cork harbour for £3m: at the close of another decade, they now left an extraordinary legacy in the form of UCC’s Glucksman Gallery, an architectural icon for the city. In west Cork, the former Glandore Convent was bought in 1999 as a private home, for £2m: 2009’s Cork house record is Cregane Manor, Rosscarbery, for €1.8m.

Top Munster sale in 1999 was Anne’s Gift near Fethard, a country estate on 485 acres, which made £7.1m (€9m). By close of 2009, a comparable property Castle Annagh in New Ross sold at auction for less than half its 2008 market arrival guide of €16m. On 550 acres, it was bought by a west Cork dairy farmer from German owners for just over €6.

As if to confirm that the decade was ending with chastened monied men, 2009 ended with one last hurray, when a livestock breeder paid €3.35m for a Co Kildare stud farm, on 100 acres in early December.


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