Dundaniel House Innishannon has Georgain grace, and growing grapefruits

Come November/December, typically there are very few houses (especially those with high price aspirations, or in the country homes market) come for sale. 

Innishannon, Co Cork €1.8 million

Sq m: 470 (5,000 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 5+8

Bathrooms: 3+4


Best feature: Exquisite

The weather’s bad; thoughts turned to Christmas.

But that’s definitely not the case this weekend, as not one, but two quite extraordinary and utterly different homes come to market, both within a short spin of Cork’s Innishannon. Even more coincidentally, each is priced at €1.8 million. But, other than that price synchronicity, they’re completely different prospects.

Our Cover Story this week, on pages 10 to 13 (also seen in its meditative calm on the front page) is an eco-aware modern build called Tearmann, done to passive house/low-energy demands, on 11 wooded acres by Dunderrow, along the River Bandon, a tidal stretch between Innishannon and Kinsale harbour. With 4,000 sq ft, complete privacy and water frontage, Tearmann guides €1.8 million with Sherry FitzGerald.

Closer to Innishannon, on more land, older and elegant from top to bottom, is Dundaniel House, pictured here, and which will deservedly get more pictorial coverage here again next weekend. It is a new listing with city-based estate agent Dominic Daly who has early interest in it — it’s an absolute gem.

If it’s gorgeous in mid-winter it will be a scene stealer come daffodil time. A tenderly-kept Georgian home on 65 acres with pleasure gardens, orchard, heated glasshouse with ripening grapefruit and oranges, fig tree and beech-hedge divided walled gardens complete with Swedish chalet, it has 12 acres of woodland, and grazing for an award-winning pedigree Aberdeen Angus herd, minded like pets.

Add in an enclosed courtyard with apple, onion, potato, wood and more-stores, plus a five-bed traditional 1920s farmhouse for a farm manager, along with outbuildings, some requisite farmland for playing farmer, and Dundaniel’s all a bit of a private paradise. It’s within a 20 minute spin of Cork city and airport, as well as being close to Kinsale, and onward routes to West Cork.

There’s more: factor in an aspect overlooking the River Bandon and a setting above the ruins of Dundaniel Castle, plus fishing rights on the River Brinny, along with woodland walks and paths under bridges, and it amounts to a sublime, and private, package. For some lucky buyer.

Extraordinarily, it’s been used as a second home for its caring owners, the Selka family who have business interests in the UK, the Continent and in Bandon itself where they employ several dozen in Reliance Precision Ltd, a long-established scientific instrument engineering company.

The rigours of that sort of mind-set have been applied, albeit in a gentle way, to the maintenance of Dundaniel House (also locally spelled Downdaniel House), and thankfully it’s all as far from bling and electronica as could be. The Selkas sensitively restored throughout in the 1980s, keeping original features, tackling the gardens, laying out a lawn tennis court and croquet lawn, and it’s all been scrupulously maintained since.

Money was spent on things like keeping the place aired and comfortably heated, and the brasses polished, rather than on swanky kitchens and fancy en suites.

Despite all its accoutrements, it’s not a big or overly-grand house at the core; four first floor bedrooms, two lovely reception rooms, kitchen overlooking the courtyard and adjoining conservatory with old terracotta-tiled floor and flowering jasmine. Colours are pale blues and greens, rathern than Farrow and Ball. Underneath is a bone-dry and bright basement, with children’s play room, snooker room, 500-bottle wine cellar and courtyard access.

Dundaniel House comes to market as another period home, Garryhankard House and Stud near Upton on 38 acres, is signalled ‘sale agreed’ with Ganly Walters, who had been seeking €2.8 million for the extremely plush and visibly grander eight-bed house with indoor swimming pool, stables and equestrian facilities and formal lawns. There’s movement, in these valleys.

VERDICT: Dundaniel is a much-loved Georgian house - much more next weekend


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