In the same manner that Renaissance Italian princes glorified their residences, while creating the milieu for artists and artisans to thrive, so too did the late owner of this property, Cork-based solicitor James G O’Mahony.
Mr O’Mahony died in 2006, and is believed to have achieved great wealth through property development. He famously sold land near the Bishopstown Roundabout to farmer/developer John Barry for €30m, having purchased the land without planning for a reputed €3m.
The glorification of his own home took place over a long period, but the end result has been described as “sublime”, “truly amazing” and “spectacular” by those in the know.
And yet, Garryhankard House had a prosaic beginning. A standard, four to five-bed late Georgian property, it belonged to the Pike family in early listings, but by the 1980s, the residence and a small patch of garden had been the property of local priest, Fr Lucey of Innishannon. He sold the house in the early 1980s for about £55,000 to a Cork-based businessman, Paddy O’Sullivan, who remodelled and upgraded the house and subsequently sold it to James O’Mahony for around £300,000 in the late 1980s.
From that time on, the house underwent a radical transformation: “It bears no relation to the house that’s there now.
“It’s huge, with a 25-metre pool. He went way out, it’s spectacular. The cornicing and the ceilings took months, the Mancini brothers were brought down from Dublin to do it,” says one source.
Garryhankard is now for sale with nine bedrooms, nine bathrooms and five reception rooms in the main house, as well as a three-bed coach house, two-bed gate lodge and two-bedroomed staff apartment, as well as world-class equestrian facilities and 39 acres.
The gate lodge, according to local sources, is “on a par with the finest houses in Innishannon”, in a re-build which saw wings built on wings, and top garden designer Angela Jupe commissioned to finish the formal gardens.
Only the best in their field were used to work on the house, and the completed project ranks among the best houses in Ireland, according to another property source.
Unlike some of the other country house properties on the market at the moment, those with more land and perhaps, a more patrician provenance, this house is finished to the finest detail, and would be quibble-free for even the pickiest of oligarchs.
And it appears from the way the house was launched on the market and from the hush-hush nature of the sale, that the market for this property is definitely overseas.
However, while all the property sources who viewed the house agree on its sublime qualities, they also agree as one that the guide price is in excess of present values.
But then, they are local values, and it’s not going to be a local buyer who hangs their hat here — not with the present marketing approach, anyway.
nAnother historic country house deal this month in North Cork: further details next week.