While the Irish pound has risen in value, there are still great opportunities for Americans who would like to own a stately home with green pastures, beautiful views and easy access to fresh- and saltwater fishing, golf, riding, hunting and a very pleasant life style.
Driving through the countryside, one can't help but be impressed by the lush green meadows with the herds of sheep and cows as well as the beautiful horses for which Ireland is famed.
Around a turn in the road you will see the remnants of an old castle covered with ivy or an ancient round tower rising from a hill near a blue lake. Over the centuries, Ireland suffered from many invasions. and the conquerors stayed because they liked the country and contributed to it.
The English built many beautiful Georgian mansions. While some have fallen into disrepair, many have been retored and modernized and have become showplaces.
Castles Come on Market
From time to time, a spectacular castle or manor home will come on the market.
Three years ago, Tulira Castle was sold by Lord and Lady Hemphill of Ardrahan, County Galway, to Dame Keiran Breeden of Beverly Hills. The castle is famous for its historical and literary significance.
It was here that George Bernard Shaw, Lady Gregory, William Butler Yeats and George Moore laid the groundwork for the formation of the Abbey Theatre. Edward Martyn, an ancestors of Lord Hemphill, established a great library in the castle.
Because of the untimely death of Keiran Breeden last year, it was recently sold to Michael McGinn of Washington, D.C., who had previously purchased Mallow Castle in County Cork. The sale price of the buildings and 150 acres of land reportedly was $1 million, which included all antiques and furnishings installed by Mrs. Breeden.
Featured in Advertisement
Castle Hyde House, a spectacular place in County Cork has just become available. It has been featured in one of the Aer Lingus airline advertisements. Located on the banks of the River Blackwater, noted for its great salmon fishing, it is an imposing Georgian mansion built around 1780 and occupying 144 acres.
The magnificent reception hall is 27-by-36 feet, with Corinthian columns and two carved stone fireplaces. The drawing room and dining room are both 21-by-30 feet, and each has a marble fireplace. There are six spacious bedrooms, and each wing has a 600-square-foot oval room. The estate also includes three other houses.
More than a mile of fishing rights are included, as are ample shooting rights, with the native pheasant and woodcock abounding in the woodland area of the property. The land includes lawns, fruit and vegetable gardens and walks.
This estate is being offered, unfurnished, for $500,000 (Irish 357,000). The main house and 57 acres could be acquired for $322,000 (Irish 230,000).
If Southern California comparisons are in order, in Glendale a four-bedroom home has just been listed for $590,000. In La Canada Flintridge, a broker is advertising a two-story, three-bedroom and study home for $775,000, and in Woodland Hills, a five-bedroom and den house on one acre is listed for $965,000.
Another Georgian-style country home in County Cork, located on six acres, including mature timber and attractive gardens, has been listed for $224,000.
It has ben extensively refurbished and re-wired and has oil-fired central heating. The owner remodeled part of it to make a guest wing or a rentable apartment. There is a large kitchen with dining area completely modernized and four bedrooms. The separate apartment has a living room and three bedrooms and two baths. This house is near fishing and is in the fox hunt area.
If an Irish castle is in your plans, you can become the owner of Castle Howard, a Regency Gothic castle dating to the late 18th Century and situated on a 220-acre plot in County Wicklow south of Dublin.
Includes Hunter's Course
There are nine bedrooms, a music room and study, as well as a wine cellar and glass-covered conservatory. Stained-glass windows and carved beam ceilings add to the charm.
There is a hunter's course if riding to the hounds is your desire. More leisurely exercise can be taken at a nearby golf course or trout fishing in the Avoca river or bagging a pheasant in the woods. The price is about $500,000.
The government imposes a stamp duty of 6% on the purchase price of any house costing more than $70,000. In addition, the buyer and seller each employs a solicitor to handle the title search and transfer, which amounts to about 1% of the purchase price. This arrangement is similar to our escrow procedure.
A Georgian home in County Wicklow is available for $330,000 with 10 acres of pasture and woodlands. The drawing room, with a carved marble fireplace, is 16-by-30 feet and leads to an 18-by-30-foot conservatory. There are six bedrooms, four baths and a playroom.
Outdoors, there is a kitchen garden, greenhouse, kennels and stables as well as a 22-by-42-foot heated and filtered swimming pool, a rarity in Ireland, and a tennis court. The gate lodge has an additional three bedrooms, sitting room and kitchen.
These properties can only be seen by appointment arranged for by the agent or the owner's solicitor.