West Cork island bought for €5.5 million as a pandemic times sanctuary 

European and Chinese bidders competed for 157-acre 'trophy' Horse Island in Roaringwater Bay
West Cork island bought for €5.5 million as a pandemic times sanctuary 
Horse Island Roaringwater Bay West Cork.

 A PRIVATE island in West Cork has just been bought as a private and safe sanctuary, during pandemic Covid-19 times, for about €5.5 million after strong international bidding from two competing parties.

Just changed hands is Horse Island, in Roaringwater Bay near Schull and Ballydehob.

Horse Island Roaringwater Bay West Cork.
Horse Island Roaringwater Bay West Cork.

It’s understood that the underbidder was Chinese, and who may have been bidding on the 157-acre island without ever getting the chance to visit it due to the Coronavirus lockdown and quarantine issues.

The easily accessed West Cork island has a pier, helipad, boathouse, three beaches, main 4,800 sq ft house and six guest houses, tennis court, grazing land, and is fully self-sufficient, with generators, wind turbines, wells and private roads.

A beach at Horse Island
A beach at Horse Island

Exclusively confirming the deal to the Irish Examiner, joint selling agent Callum Bain of Colliers International said they had “recorded considerable interest from all corners of the globe, particularly the USA, Asia, continental Europe, and the United Kingdom, resulting in two parties bidding for the property.” 

Behind the major deal were an international cadre of estate agents, including Colliers in Dublin, Engel & Volkers in Kinsale, both acting for the Irish owner of the island. 

London Mayfair-based real estate brokers Montague Real Estate acted for the buyer, with Knight Frank Private.

“Horse Island is one of very few well developed privately owned islands off the coast of Ireland. 

"We are delighted with the outcome of the marketing program and take this opportunity to wish the new owner peaceful enjoyment of this very special part of Ireland,” said Dublin-based Colliers’ country house and estates specialist Callum Bain.

Horse Island Roaringwater Bay West Cork.
Horse Island Roaringwater Bay West Cork.

This was trimmed back to €5.5 million in February and while the eventual selling price isn’t disclosed, it is likely to have at least hit this considerable target.

Horse Island has had several very wealthy owners, and at one stage was home to 100 permanent residents.

East End Village on Horse Island in 1980
East End Village on Horse Island in 1980

Horse Island had last changed hands back in 2007 when bought by a low-profile Dublin financier, who started several farm enterprises here, including an attempt to rear Wagyu cattle.  

At one stage plans for a whiskey distillery on the island were also mooted, but hit planning hurdles.

Agent Ron Krueger of Engle & Volkers commented that Roaringwater Bay’s Horse Island was possibly the best developed private island off the Irish coast.

Inishturkbeg in Mayo is another contender: he described the setting on the Wild Atlantic Way as “a wonderful, tranquil location and it has been a privilege to be involved in the sale of the island on two occasions, firstly to the vendor and then for the vendor.”

Horse Island Roaringwater Bay West Cork.
Horse Island Roaringwater Bay West Cork.

Alex Robinson of Knight Frank in London added that “the sale of Horse Island is a great example of some significant deals that have taken place during lockdown and we are thrilled to have been part of it. 

"It highlights a trend that is becoming more apparent as the impact of Covid-19 is felt and people look to purchase property or land in remote locations.”

Given that there was one very active counter-bidder, the good news for that disappointed person is that an adjoining Roaringwater Bay island, Castle Island, went to the open market just last week.

Owned by a London family since the 1970s, the ‘consolation prize’ of Castle Island which is set between Horse and Long Island outside Schull has 123 acres, a pier, a 14th Century castle ruin and 15 ruined 19th Century cabins: It caries a guide price “in excess of €1 million” with agents Dominic Daly and Knight Frank.

Roll up, row up.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up
Revoiced
Newsletter

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up