Millionaire pad in West Cork makes its mark

Former West Cork residence of Anthony O’Reilly overlooking Glandore is on the money, says Tommy Barker.

Glandore, West Cork €1.75 million

Sq m 670 (7,200 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 6+4+2+1

Bathrooms: 10


Best Feature: Glorious Georgian Glandore compound

THERE’S a ‘Sale Agreed’ to an overseas buyer on the Glengarriff, West Cork home of screen legend Maureen O’Hara for close to a revised, lowered price of €1.8 million.

And, now, with the wind in their sales, estate agents Sherry FitzGerald are also progressing nicely on the former West Cork holiday home of another Irish legend, Anthony O’Reilly, in Glandore, guided at €1.75m.

Millionaire pad in West Cork makes its mark

There are similarities between each: both are older properties, and have been decades in respective O’Hara/O’Reilly ownerships; they come with land, in superbly scenic, noted and prized settings, and both are getting international attention. Oh, and their waterfrontage is a bonus.

Maureen O’Hara’s Irish retreat, called Lugdine and which she bought back in 1970 with her late husband Charles Blair, is dated, but set like a jewel, on 45 wooded and shoreline-indented Glengarriff acres.

It launched last year with a €2.3 million guide, and that dropped to €2.1m, and then again to €1.8m before going ‘sale agreed’ with Rosanne De Vere Hunt of Sherry FitzGerald Countrywide, and with local Sherry Fitzgerald O’Neill agent Ray O’Neill.

Understandably, they don’t reveal details in advance of signed contracts, but the intending buyer is understood to be from overseas.

Millionaire pad in West Cork makes its mark

Now, they are out of the traps on Shorecliffe, on six acres along the waterside at golden-set Glandore: the inquiries and early interest appears to be from the Irish diaspora in the main. 

A note of caution about international markets — Shorecliffe had been ‘sale agreed’ around the start of this year with Skibbereen agents Charles P McCarthy, to a UK buyer, but the cooling off in the London property market in the run up to the British general election meant that sale fell through as the intending buyer couldn’t sell in London — another sign of changing times.

Shorecliffe was owned for decades by Tony O’Reilly, at one stage Ireland’s richest man but who in latter years financially ran foul of an aggressive take-over of Independent News and Media, huge losses at Waterford Crystal and a perfect storm of money woes. 

His 750-acre Castlemartin Estate in Dublin sold in December, for €28m to US billionaire and landowner John Malone, and he also disposed of a Dublin townhouse at Fitzwilliam Square for €3.2m to pay back AIB bank debts.

Millionaire pad in West Cork makes its mark

O’Reilly has been 40 years or so in part-time residence at Shorecliffe, which he bought from a Mrs Good and guaranteed her lifetime residency of the main house. She lived for several decades more, and he honoured his care agreements with her, only getting use of the main Georgian residence himself in latter years. 

And, locals say, he last used it in any real sense about 2008. But back when his family was young, they had long holidays here, and visitors included top Irish, British and American politicians as well as business associates.

It appeals primarily as a package, and the main, six-bed block of Georgian 3,200 sq ft house would hardly command the €1.7m asking price on its quality alone — unusually, its upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms appear of higher quality than the main reception rooms.

Key to its appeal is aspect, views, setting on so much private land (six acres) right in the centre of Glandore, behind a screening wall and dropping down at the bottom towards a public beach and shoreline.

In addition to the main house, there’s a 1,800 sq ft four-bed mews alongside in a courtyard setting, plus a studio and a guest apartment, in all yielding up eight more bedrooms for guests — for anyone with that number of friends. it’s all in overall good condition too, dated but minded.

Millionaire pad in West Cork makes its mark

The gardens have had tending care too, thankfully, with a long avenue fence twined with roses ready to bloom, the main part of the land is paddock with scope for a pond, there’s woods at the boundary, plus an orchard of a couple of dozen fruit trees, a fragrant flower walk by a side lawn. 

There’s an outdoor swimming pool (water’s pumped up from the sea, and heated via oil) and a long-established tennis court, needing some resurfacing, and with clematis climbing up its interlink fencing, close to a stream by a woodland section — utterly beguiling.

The main road through Glandore runs close to the back of the house and boundary wall, and the views over Glandore harbour (which runs three miles inland, to Leap village) are sublime. 

Elevated Glandore is reckoned to be one of Munster’s most scenic villages, host to sailing regattas and summer swells, and regularly gets multi-million euro house sales, one an immaculately restored period home making €4m, while contemporary ones on dramatic sites have sold for €1-2m, to appreciative buyers.

VERDICT: Although it needs more spending and more full time use now, the likes of Shorecliffe won’t come along again too easily. 

Locals speak well of the O’Reilly tenure and especially the way the previous owner was respected and minded up here, aged into her 90s. Tony O’Reilly’s recent travails will be to some new, fortunate owner of Shorecliffe’s advantage.


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