Rena O’Kelly, the agent handing the sale of luxurious Castlehyde House near Fermoy, Co Cork, said several prospective buyers, including from the US, have viewed the magnificent property overlooking the River Blackwater in recent months.
“It is a restricted end of the market anyway and there has been uncertainty in the market for the last 18 months or so,” said Ms O’Kelly. “But I think, post-Brexit, there is more certainty and we have seen that as interest in the property continues.”
The Lord of the Dance star announced his intention to sell his beloved Cork retreat, set on a 150-acre private estate just outside Fermoy, more than two years ago.
Built in the Palladian style to the design of the elder Abraham Hargrave, Castlehyde was completed for John Hyde around 1801 and is the ancestral home of the first Irish president, Douglas Hyde.
Flatley bought the near derelict property for some £3m in 1999 at a time when it was considered beyond repair. Despite some advice to level the house and rebuild, Flatley spent the next four years, and around €50m of his own personal fortune, on a painstaking restoration, from the basement up.
The 35,000 sq ft four-storey property now boasts six themed bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, up to six more modest bedrooms, a 20-seat cinema, spa and pool, two climate-controlled wine cellars, whiskey room, formal dining room, tennis court, gym, dance rehearsal room, two-storey library panelled in American walnut, and a bar where Flatley has fond memories of evenings spent supping pints with his brother and late father, Michael James. The new owner will also have fishing rights for the Blackwater’s famed salmon fishery.
The entrance hall, which extends the length of the house, doubles as a banquet hall and can accommodate 300 guests. It includes two original fireplaces, gilded Corinthian columns, and ceiling mouldings decorated in 24-carat gold.
It is today regarded as one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the south-west and one of the finest structural restorations of a historic Irish home.
Flatley spotted the mansion during a helicopter flight to scout for property in West Cork and decided almost immediately to buy it.
The house was the venue for his marriage to Niamh O’Brien in 2006. Cliff Richard, Maureen O’Hara, George Hamilton, Michael Jackson, and the Chieftains have been guests there.
In 2015, Flatley said his decision to sell Castlehyde was one of the toughest he had ever made. The death of his father a year earlier, and a robbery at the house in January 2014, which took place while Flatley, his wife, and son Michael St James were in the house, were all factors in his decision to sell.
The sale is being handled by Frank Knight and joint agents Goffs.