LOCAL buyers have emerged to close a deal in a private auction on Fermoy’s landmark town centre Presentation Convent, a year after the 200-year-old building on 6.8 acrest went to market, and with the successful sale finalising during Covid-19 pandemic upheaval.
The disposal, with proceeds going to the Redress Board, marks a ‘Holy Trinity’ of convent sales totaling close to €1.5m for estate agent John Hodnett, of Hodnett Forde, including convents in Rosscarbery and Listowel, as well as sales of well-located residential/holiday home buildings for religious orders in other Munster settings.
Originally built as a private residence and associated in its earliest days with spirits distillers Johnnie Walkers and with Fermoy garrison town founder the Scotsman John Anderson, it had initially launched in July 2019 with a guide in excess of €800,000, and the sale included grounds, feature lake/pond, and an old courtyard.
It came into the possession of the Presentation Order after a public auction in 1922, in which their interest was unopposed and it served time later as a primary school, a ‘secondary top school’ and as a novitiate for the Diocese of Cloyne.
By the time of its going to market in summer 2019, the Italiante 10,000 sq ft over-basement building and which once accommodated 40 nuns had just been vacated by two remaining sisters in the Presentation Order, and was offered with scope for hospitality, hoteliers, and other accommodation uses.
Auctioneer John Hodnett this week confirmed the sale “to a local, professional couple,” but declined to give further details or to say how many others attended the private auction.
It’s understood there were other offers, but they were subject to planning permission for development and the order’s preference was to sell ‘as-is,’ and in one lot on over six acres.
Among the Fermoy convent’s former pupils is high-profile Irish pyschiatrist, Dr Patricia Casey, who had attended both the local Loreto and Presentation schools, before studying in UCC.
It now joins the protracted sale of the stunningly set, Mercy Order convent sale in Rosscarbery in West Cork, closer to John Hodnett’s Clonakilty business base and previously alluded to in these pages back in July 2019. However, that handover to its new, as-yet-unidentified owner has not yet occurred.
It’s understood that the C19th century Rosscarbery Convent, overlooking the lagoon and adjoining a secondary school which continues to serve education uses, is being sold for a sum between €475,000 and €500,000.
The Ross Mercy Order convent sale is just ahead of the c €450,000 paid back around 2014 for a convent in Co Kerry’s Listowel: the following year, Hodnett Forde sold a residential home for a religious order in West Cork’s Castletownebere for over €350,000.
However, the largest deal done by the same agency was of a summer home used by nuns on Inchydoney Island near Clonakilty, golden beaches, and a five-star hotel.
Inchydoney House made c €750,000 at an electric public auction in 2013, and has since had at least a further €1m+ invested in it by its private Irish owner.
Details: Hodnett Forde 023-8833367