House of the week: Dripsey Castle, €2m

YOU could nearly say that Dripsey Castle has only changed hands three times in over 500 years. There have been changes of name and co-joined dynasties, yes, but the property which began with a castle and finished with an apartment has been owned by just three families.

House of the week: Dripsey Castle, €2m

First registered ownership lists the McCarthy’s, Lords of Muskerry, who built Carrignamuck, (now know as Dripsey Castle) in the mid-1400s as part of a chain of similar defensive structures, including Blarney Castle.

Around 1650, Dripsey was attacked and captured by Cromwell’s army under Lord Broghill and the estate was confiscated and resettled.

The Bowen/Coldhurst families are interconnected with a number of estates and castles in Cork county following the invasion and the families intermarried through the years.

The Bowen/Coldhursts of Dripsey Castle were related to the novelist Elizabeth Bowen and the present incumbents of another McCarthy castle, the Coldhursts of Blarney Castle.

But the most infamous of all the Coldhursts was John Bowen Coldhurst of Dripsey who was court martialed for killing Francis Sheehy Skeffington and two newspaper editors, Thomas Dickson and Patrick McIntyre, in Dublin during the 1916 Rising.

Dripsey House, the present day, Georgian mansion, (as opposed to the castle proper, was built by John Colthurst and his wife Jane Bowen in the late 18th century and the family continued to live in what was then an estate of 1,400 acres until the early 20th century when the property was damaged by fire.

According to the Landed Estates Database at NUI Galway, the Irish Tourist Association survey in the early 1940s recounts the boycotting of the family following the Sheehy-Skeffington murder in 1916 and their subsequent departure to live in England.

By the early 1940s it was already owned by the O’Shaughnessy who had purchased the paper mills nearby in 1903 and had set up an international business weaving woollen blankets — the famous Dripsey Woollen Mills brand.

It’s the O’Shaughnessy family who are now selling the house and the remainder of the estate — a total of 110 acres. Joint agents, Ganly Walters and Joe McCarthy of Irish and European give a guide in the region of €2 million for the Castle demesne — a rare sale indeed.

Located just outside Dripsey village and dominated by the 120’ high Carrignamuck Castle on a weir in the Dripsey River, (which provides hyro-electricty to the house), the Georgian house has a range of rooms, including nine bedrooms, a number of bathrooms and a three-bed apartment.

Set in a high bluff above the river and surrounded by magnificent oak and lime trees, as well as century old rhododendrons, the main house hasn’t been lived in for some time, but is nevertheless, quite dry. The only water ingress is from the roof, which will need repair and the house is set over two storeys, with large attic rooms.

Spacious and retaining a lot of original fittings, the original layout was expanded to include a ballroom wing which is now converted into a sunny apartment with separate access from the rear courtyard. The house is a simple property, with ample, but manageable space, but it will need serious work and restoration. Part of the lands were sold last year and the remaining estate comprises pastureland and lots of beautiful mature woodland.

Within a short commute of the city, in good hunting territory and close to Cork airport, this would make an excellent sporting estate for an overseas buyer, the agents suggest.

VERDICT: The ideal getaway — connected but remote, impressive — but informal. Hedge-fund managers take note.

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