Beagh Castle is a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of history, writes Tommy Barker.
Shannon Estuary, Limerick
Size: 17.5 acres
PERHAPS the first genuine Irish castle those flying into land at Shannon Airport will see is Bally-steen Castle — it’s directly across the Shannon estuary from the runways of the international airport.
Back up for sale after changing hands a couple of years ago, this ancient standing ruin, plus adjoining ruined coastguard cottages on 17.5 acres at the water’s edge, has something else going for it: full planning permission for a new build.
With the chance to build anew, to a contemporary design in a water-fronting setting 20 minutes from Limerick City, it heralds the start of a new chapter of residence at promontory-set Beagh Castle.
The castle dates to the early 13th century, as a strategic, defensive outpost built by the FitzGeralds of Desmond on the grounds of a former Viking settlement where a chapel had been built as early as the 800s, and came into the possession of the Knights of Glin, staying in the Glin lineage for three centuries.
It also served as a outpost during the 19th century Napoleonic wars, and in 1827 witnessed tragedy when 13 drowned after collecting seaweed for manure on an island — their boat overturned in a storm on the way back.
From the 1830s, the castle served as a coastguard station, with five cottages built alongside for personnel. By the late 19th century and into the early 20th century, the pier next to the castle was a stopping point for Shannon packet steamers, with a new quay and slipway built in the early 1900s.
Some 60 years later, an Italian count and his US wife bought Beagh Castle at auction and it passed to their daughter, who got planning (now lapsed) in 2009 for conversion of coastguard cottages to holiday rentals, with a proviso about maintaining the castle ruin.
Having sold a few years. a Michael O’Donnell got planning for a new dwelling/extension of derelict cottage, overlooking Beagh Castle,it’s now back on the market with a €330,000 price guide quoted by Martin O’Donovan of Treaty Auctioneers. He says it’s a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of history, in a stunning setting with lots of land, a short commute out from Limerick City and a boat row from Shannon Airport.
VERDICT: Be king of the castle.
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