Tori Amos' former Kinsale home jumps from €1.25m to €2.95m in two years

Singer songwriter Tori Amos’ former Co Cork home may be about to make a record of its own, writes Tommy Barker
Tori Amos' former Kinsale home jumps from €1.25m to €2.95m in two years

Ballywilliam House, guided at €2.95m by  Bowe Property is six kms up the River Bandon from Kinsale

Kinsale, Cork

€2.95 million

Size

440 sq m (4,700 sq ft)

Bedrooms

8

Bathrooms

6

BER

Exempt

A PERIOD home upriver of the town of Kinsale, used as a quiet spiritual retreat by the singer Tori Amos during her near-25 years of ownership, has come back for sale after a swift and major upgrade, and after two years in use as a very busy Airbnb venue for sizeable gatherings.

River Bandon frontage at Ballywilliam House is tidal
River Bandon frontage at Ballywilliam House is tidal

Just listed in the past week with a €2.95m AMV is the eight-bedroomed Ballywilliam House, on the Bandon River about 6km upriver from Kinsale.

With water frontage, it’s over 200 years of age, and now stands on 2.4 acres, close by a large farm at the end of a long cul de sac, with a small beach, with the river tidal, and scenic right up as far as Innishannon.

And, it’s had quite a makeover since it last came up for sale.

Lofty grandeur
Lofty grandeur

Singer/songwriter Tori Amos had it from 1995, one of several fine properties she owned in far-flung locations, using it for recording and sharing with other creatives. When she put it up for sale in 2018, it was in what was described as an under-restored state, gently nudged along with the times.

Tori Amos at Ballywilliam House
Tori Amos at Ballywilliam House

Deciding to part with it then, she commented of Ballywilliam that “it really breaks my heart to see her go, but this magical place needs to find a new owner who can fully live and breathe everything that she has to offer.

“I will miss her, but will always cherish the memories, both personal and artistic.”

Then, it had carried a €1.45m price guide, and shows on the Price Register at €1.192m — and, with the extra value of its land, is likely to have transacted by 2019 for €1.25m.

Its purchaser is a businessman who had previously bought several other Kinsale properties for Airbnb rentals, and as soon as the sale closed, he started work on Ballywilliam, both on the part slate-hung house, and its grounds, which included a smokery.

Party on?
Party on?

Selling agent now is Brendan Bowe, who opened a Kinsale estate agency (his third Cork office) earlier this year, and he says that the Georgian Ballywilliam House has had a painstaking renovation since, with four of the eight upgraded bedrooms en suite, with two other bathrooms to serve guests in the 4,700 sq ft, over-basement home/venue.

Blue period at Ballywilliam House
Blue period at Ballywilliam House

There’s an upscale kitchen with tall, blue-painted units, fine formal triple-aspect reception room with slender stone fireplace, cantilevered staircase with oculus window, fan-lit front door, internal fanlight,  and sash windows.

Oculus window has old grace
Oculus window has old grace

The dining room has a table to seat 22, and externally there are two gazebos for outdoor gatherings and dining — handy in on-going Covid-19-aware times.

Outdoor wining and dining options at Ballywilliam House's two gazebos
Outdoor wining and dining options at Ballywilliam House's two gazebos

One, with canvas sides, is set directly facing the house, with outdoor barbecues and parking on a gravel drive nearby, and the other is at the end of the walkway through the lower grounds by the water’s edge and a shingle, tidal mini-beach.

Mr Bowe bills Ballywilliam House as “truly an original gem, in a beautiful countryside setting on its own private grounds which are further enhanced by walled rear gardens, original smoke vaults, a dry moat with an ornate limestone bridge, and recently added bespoke garden gazebos in both the courtyard and by the foreshore”.

Ballywilliam House in the 1990s before Tori Amos bought it
Ballywilliam House in the 1990s before Tori Amos bought it

Road access to and from Kinsale is along a water-fronting cul de sac upriver of Ballinacurra House (for sale for over €6.3m via Knight Frank, and which is due to host a two-day music festival, the Great Beyond, on September 11 and 12) culminating at Ballywilliam and an adjacent farm.

Boat/RIB access to the town of Kinsale, its harbour and the wider great ocean beyond is also possible, on higher tides.

Dinner table seats over 20
Dinner table seats over 20

Ballywilliam House, on its c 2.5 acres, has joined a clutch of upmarket, multimillion-euro Kinsale property market listings, coming in at, eh, the mid-range, at €2.95m via Bowe Property.

The latest €1m+sale result on the Price Register is a former, upgraded and extended local authority house at 12 Fr McSweeney Villas, Ardbrack, at €1.45m.

The Register shows 36 €1m+ Kinsale sales since 2010, including Ballywilliam House itself, sold in a less polished state in late 2019, at €1.192m.

VERDICT: One of the greater Kinsale area’s genuine period homes, hoping to capitalise on the local, national and indeed global surge in demand for water-fronting properties, and currently high values.
During Tori Amos’s time, albums such as her Boys for Pele were recorded here: Will the house itself now make its own record, by more than doubling in value in just two years?

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