Cashel and castles in Magnier opus

And, they’re off: Irish business magnate John Magnier’s name has been associated with the ‘agreed sale’ of Co Tipperary’s Cashel Palace Hotel. He’s also being talked about as a possible buyer for hoofer Michael Flatley’s Castlehyde House, which is on 150 acres next to Mr Magnier’s Castlehyde Stud, near his native Fermoy.

Following media reports of a proposed sale at Castlehyde House, Andrew Nolan, of Goffs Country, has been appointed by Mr Flatley to sell his painstakingly restored Palladian mansion, along the River Blackwater, for €20m.

It’s proximity to Castlehyde Stud, which is part of the Coolmore stable of studs, and the involvement of Goffs, indicate hopes of a sale to Mr Magnier, sources suggest, though other, overseas inquiries will be expected for the mansion.

Meanwhile, closer to Coolmore, in Tipperary, the Cashel Palace Hotel went to market in May of this year, on 25 acres, priced at €2.5m by agents, CBRE.

Long-associated with the horse-racing and celebrity ‘set’, the historic Cashel Palace Hotel, on 25 acres, by the Rock of Cashel, was at one time owned by the legendary horse trainer, Vincent O’Brien.

CBRE declined to comment on the sale’s progress, as contracts have not yet been signed, but other sources say Mr Magnier is associated with the Cashel Palace Hotel purchase.

If concluded, he will join his fellow racing enthusiast and fellow billionaire, JP McManus, in Irish castle hotel purchases, after Mr McManus’s swoop on Adare Manor, earlier this year, for circa €30m: McManus is set to spend tens of million more on its refurbishment.

If the Cashel Palace’s tag of €2.5m is seen as small change to John Magnier, well, Tipperary can take more of his investment funds. His name is being touted as a possible buyer for the Kilcooley Estate, in Co Tipperary, one of the largest intact Irish estates, at over 1,200 acres, and up for sale this month in a hoped-for spectacular ‘flip’ for €8m, via Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes, with Chrisities.

The derelict, 36,000 sq ft mansion, Kilcooley, was bought two years ago by Northern Ireland investor, Tommy O’Gorman (buyer, too, of Cork’s Blarney Resort and golf club) along with 220 acres from Nama, for €2.1m.

Mr O’Gorman has since negotiated the purchase of a further 900-acre plus freehold back from Coillte, for €1.5m, combining to form a rare, 1,200-acre estate for €3.5m. Kilcooley was associated with the Barker-Ponsonby family, and Ponsonby family members were latterly associated with the Ballinatray Estate, near Youghal, on the River Blackwater.

Ballinatray’s current owner, Henry Gwyn-Jones, of the Lough Cutra estate family, has since bought back additional lands, too, at Ballinatray, now with 850 acres to its name, and making it quite the catch for well-heeled international buyers with Blackwater estates in mind.

Mr Gwyn-Jones has previously denied reports in London of sales interest in Ballinatray.



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