WHAT is it about Irish islands, and pandemic times property purchases?
A picturesque Kerry archipelago in Kenmare harbour has just been sold for €500,000: it’s the latest in a slew of Irish island sales during 2020.
One, Horse Island in West Cork sold for €5.5 million, while another alongside in Roaringwater Bay by Schull, Castle Island, is ‘sale agreed’ for close to €1.5m to an overseas buyer.
One of the original family, Austin Kelly, was born on Greenane Islands in the 1920s. But, he left when a young child, and became very well known as a cobbler up and down the Ring of Kerry peninsula, collecting shoes for repair.
He died recently and had been predeceased by his brother Kevin, who had emigrated the US years ago.
The cluster of low-lying islands spans 52 acres, the largest being Cappanacush, also called Kellys' Island locally.
Scenic, they have the ruins of some old dwellings on them, but have been abandoned for decades, save for grazing goats.
It’s possible to wade out to them at low tide from Templenoe Pier, and they’re enjoyed by kayakers and picnic daytrippers.
They’re also close to Francis and John Brennan family’s Dromquinna Manor and activity centre with its own pier, while the area is known for being home to a number of super-wealthy individuals.
A Gothic-style waterfront castle, An Colu, built 20 years ago, is understood to be close to a sale for c €4m, with local sources saying keen interest had come from a Dublin publican.
Meanwhile, in the midst of considerable discrete wealth (Irish American dancer Michael Flatley had at one stage wanted to buy nearby), Greenane Islands were sold off-market by Killarney estate agent Tom Spillane from Templenoe.
The Spillane family (his brother Pat is the noted GAA sports broadcaster, and both have illustrious Kerry footballer backgrounds) have owned the well-known Spillanes Bar at Templenoe for generations, and Mr Spillane said the late Austin Kelly was extremely fondly recalled in the Kenmare/Sneem area.
He indicated the islands had been bought by a woman living locally, with property interests and home nearby.