Carrigrohane Castle, the Co Cork former childhood family home of convicted fraudster Breifne O’Brien, has been put up for sale, ending more than 40 years of occupation by the O’Brien family.
The 400-year-old Tudor-style castle at the end of the Carrigrohane Road appeared without fanfare on a property website at the weekend, with a ‘price on application’ legend attached to its briefest of descriptions.
It is likely to be floated at about €2.5m, according to sources, though its named selling agent Michael Burns yesterday declined to comment publicly on the family’s plans for its sale.
It has been owned since the early 1970s by businessman and property investor Leo O’Brien and his wife Mary, who reared their children — including sons Breifne and broadcaster/journalist Daire O’Brien — within its walls and around its woodland walks.
Mr O’Brien owned valuable building investments on South Mall and Academy Street (now part of Opera Lane).
It’s understood that disgraced investor Breifne O’Brien held his wedding at Carrigrohane Castle to Dublin PR adviser and society figure Fiona Nagle in the in the mid-2000s, just before he was exposed in 2008 as having conned friends and family out of millions of euro to fund his extravagant lifestyle and run his own mansion homes.
Historic Carrigrohane Castle was brought back from a ruin in the 1830s and was largely rebuilt and maintained since. It is possibly the most dramatically-sited home in and around Cork City, on a high cliff overlooking the River Lee, between Ballincollig and the city.
For centuries, it dominated the skyline, looking out towards Muskerry, imperial over all it surveyed. At one stage, the demesne lands associated with the castle would have run to 1,500 acres, from the Model Farm Road to the eastern end of Ballincollig.
Now, the castle stands on a still-impressive and private 16 acres, half of it shielding woodland, and half in pasture and let out for farming use. The land and property offered for sale includes an entrance lodge by St Peter’s Church on Churchill Hill, and a guest house by a tennis court within the grounds.
The daft.ie property web listing says the castellated home has 6,500sq ft, with six bedrooms, and three bathrooms, and has all of the sort of features one would expect in a proper castle, with battlements, stone carvings, enormous fireplaces (but also oil central heating), gabled dormers, hefty internal beams and dark timbers, slate roof and look-out vantage points.
At one stage, the Muskerry tram would have passed under this craggily-set Corkleo castle, and a rockfall about 35 years ago on a section of cliff face caused the closure of the Carrigrohane Road for a period.
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