An abandoned mansion considered one of the finest in Ireland in its heyday has been sold for €300,000 with plans to turn it into a luxurious five-star hotel.
Mayfield House in Portlaw, Co Waterford, was built in 1740 and has been left empty since 1994 with 28 years of deterioration being allowed to set in.
It is understood that it has been bought by one of the country’s largest hospitality companies.
The 10 bedroom, one bathroom manor house along with a gate lodge on 6.05 acres of land dropped a staggering €535,000 from a previous asking price of €835,000. The auction firm BidX1 and Brophy Cusack auctioneers managed the sale.
The mansion was designed by architect William Tinsley for the wealthy Malcomson family, who founded the nearby town of Portlaw as a centre of the tanning industry, complete with its own leather currency.
Paudie Coffey, Chairperson of the Portlaw Community Enhancement Committee, said they “are delighted that the historic landmark on the edge of the village has been sold” which will reinvigorate tourism in the area.
Mr Coffey added that he looks forward to positive engagement between the new owners, Waterford City and County Councils and the community.
No expense was previously spared on the stately home. The interiors boasted splendid décor with ornate plasterwork, opulent gilding and intricately carved stone fireplaces. In its heyday, Mayfield House was considered one of the finest country houses in Ireland.
The house, while still belonging to the Malcomson family, was eventually repurposed as the national headquarters for the Irish tannery industry. The country's leather industry went into decline in the 1950s.
In 1985, the Irish tannery industry collapsed. No longer the HQ for the industry, Mayfield House was used as office space until the early 1990s. The building was finally vacated in 1994 and effectively left to rot.
In the mid-1990s, the roof of the building was still intact and the interiors, though shabby and in need of a revamp, were in a reasonable state of repair.
By the turn of the millennium, Mayfield House had become a decrepit roofless shell. Many of its original features were stripped for architectural salvage.
These days, all that is left of the grand mansion is its walls.
The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage describes the property as "an imposing, well-composed, substantial house built for the Malcomson family to designs prepared by William Tinsley".
"The house is distinguished by the elegant entrance tower, which augments the Italianate Classical quality of the composition. Now in ruins, and having been exposed to architectural salvage, much of the original fabric has been lost, although the remains of some fine detailing to the openings survive intact, contributing to the design quality of the site.
"The house forms an elegant centrepiece in extensive grounds originally accommodating the Malcomson cotton factory complex, and remains an imposing, although increasingly obscured, landmark of some Romantic quality in the townscape”.