Lisselan has just been acquired by Ms Twomey, owner of one of Ireland’s most iconic food brands, a former mayor of Clonakilty, and a EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Just last year, in a case of bringing home the bacon, Ms Twomey invested €7m in a new food production building and visitor centre in the edge of the West Cork town, where employment is growing from 50-plus jobs.
Lisselan has a French chateau-style house with turret, 30 acres of Robinsonian gardens by the River Argideen, and 315 acres in all, including an 80-acre, nine-hole golf course, plus the original ruined homestead of the Henry Ford dynasty, all just 5km from Clonakilty. It has been sold after three years on the international market, initially priced at €9m. Since then it had a series of price cuts and a change of selling agents, and was marketed last year by Catherine McAuliffe of Savills, Cork, at €3.6m.
It had gone ‘sale agreed’ to an Irish bidder who was based overseas in 2017, but that sale didn’t close, and when it was reoffered, other viewers included Chinese bidders with international golf interests, and Clonakilty’s own Colette Twomey.
Her plans for Lisselan haven’t yet been divulged, but the deal is done, and the local Lisselan golf club this week on Facebook wished Ms Twomey (who herself is a competitive golfer) well on hearing of her purchase.
One of the quirky course’s golf holes stops just short of the house, and it also features a ski-lift-like rail car up a steep hill, plus a rope-controlled river ferry over the scenic Argideen river and glen. The gardens were open to the public until last year, and the setting is so picturesque that golf magazine Fore noted: “If Hans Christian Anderson ever wrote a story about a golf course, this is where he would have set it.”
The Lisselan estate straddles the main N71 between Ballinascarthy and Clonakilty and includes top quality dairy and grazing land. Sources say Ms Twomey has a small farm holding abutting some of this great estate, which once comprised many thousands of acres, with the 11,000 sq ft turreted house built by the Bence Jones family.
The estate includes several cottages and outbuildings, a mile of double bank fishing, farm yard, and stables. The house was added to in the late 1800s, and again in 1902 when a conservatory was transported to Clonakilty from the 1902 Cork Exhibition.
Later owners included pioneering entrepreneur Charles Orr Stanley of Pye Electrical and Sunbeam fame; in the early 1990s it was bought by UK-based David Blackburn, who had the Mitsubishi motors franchise for the UK and Ireland, and who owned the 1996 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, the Fergie Sutherland-trained Imperial Call.
Handily, Ms Twomey has an interest in racehorses.