House of the week

Tommy Barker T

House of the week

Tommy Barker reports

TWO strong, prime Munster harbour-set property sales each in excess of €2 million look set to wrap up an otherwise uneventful year at the market’s upper end. In the month that US singer Tori Amos decides to finally part with her ‘beloved’ Ballywilliam House, upriver of Kinsale on the River Bandon, on 2.5 acres including waterfrontage for €1.45m (main pics), comes news of a €2.5m deal on the utterly contemporary Corafinne, at Kinsale’s so-chic Scilly.

Kinsale/River Bandon

Cost €1.45m
Size383 sq m (4,100 sq ft) 2.5 acres

Corafinne, which launced herein June 2017 with a price guide of €2.75m, has found an international buyer with Irish links, who’ll use the Kiosk-architects designed 3,000 sq ft one-off on a spectacular 0.3 acre site as a recreational bolt hole.

News of the deal was confirmed by estate agent Ron Kruger, as his Kinsale-based Engel & Volkers franchise celebrated a decade in operation Thursday, having opened doors just as the global economy went into meltdown.

On the basis of Corafinne’s sale, possibly Munster’s strongest residential result for 2018, it appears that former banker Mr Kruger’s resilience and persisence in Irish property sales has paid off — helped by Kinsale’s ‘halo’ effect.

Also in the same, broad price echelon is the deal done in rapid order, on the former family home of the late Irish businesman (Greencore, Aer Lingus, Carbery Milk Products) Bernie Cahill.

The Cahills’ quality home, Cuan Bán (pic, above) which grew over decades to 3,800 sq ft of split-level build on 2.8 acres on the Colla Road, went to market in June of this year, guiding €1.5m+ with Schull agent James Lyouns O’Keeffe.

In the heel of a very short-lived hunt, it went for a very unexpected €2.2m, having been vigorously pursued by two Cork bidders. Key to its appeal was the attraction of water frontage, acreage and jetty/pier for boat launching. Sources in the city say the buyer is businessman Chris Dineen, who owns a modern mansion on the Blackrock Road in the city, reputedly built a cost of c €5m in the 2000s, as well as other property interests: last year Mr Dineen emerged as the buyer of the late Margaret and Peter Barry TD’s family home, Sherwood, next door to his own house, for €1.5m.

It’s understood the underbidder on Schull’s Cuan Bán is currently hunting another prospect in the vicinity, with water access/frontage top on his wish-list.

And, waterfrontage in Kinsale’s ‘haloed’ and hallowed catchment, upriver a few kilometres along the River Bandon, is one of the attractions of Ballywilliam House, a slate hung over-basement house on 2.5 acres, at the end of a long cul-de-sac, past the old and long-vanished Kinsale bridge towards Ballinspittle, Garretstown and the Old Head of Kinsale. Ballywilliam, in a very authentic, and not overly restored state, was bought 23 years ago by singer-songwriter Tori Amos, who also has homes in Florida and Cornwall.

She came across Ballywilliam while looking for an atmospheric house to rent to record an album, Boys for Pele in 1995, and ended up buying Ballywilliam.

As a creative space, it has since hosted other visiting artists, friends and writers, served as a recording studio and inspired the classically released album Night of the Hunters, and images of it surfaced from the project including river scenes, a bonfire sequence and a video for the album song, ‘Star Whisperer’, was also filmed at Ballywilliam.

Selling agent is country homes specialist Celia Lamb, now with Wilson Auctioneers who have an Irish presence north and south of the border. She extols its charms, noting: “Ballywilliam House provides the rare and exclusive combination of peace, privacy, direct water access, and far-reaching views.

“The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home, and its faithful AGA stove and oven have made multicultural feasts for visiting artists. Many dinners have been followed by a bonfire in the outdoor theatre, where stories were shared and songs were sung under the stars,” Ms Lamb adds.

Features include characterful reception rooms with original twelve over twelve sash windows, four bedrooms, plus four basement rooms with further scope, plus a moat, orchard, walkways and tidal river frontage, with dramatic vaulted space with roof vent for bonfires.

Likely to now need further investment, Ballywilliam is reached up a long approach avenue through farm fields. But, in separate ownership is an adjacent farm and large cattle sheds, screened from view to the rear of the property.

Tori Amos said she’s selling as she doesn’t get to visit Kinsale often enough, and previously she has endorsed the likes of Cork’s Crawford Art Gallery, and local Kinsale eateries like Jim Edwards.

“It really breaks my heart to see her go, but this magical place needs to find a new owner who can fully live and breathe everything that she has to offer. I will miss her, but will always cherish the memories, both personal and artistic.”

VERDICT: Harmonious

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