It’s the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland.
Perched on a cliff overlooking the Owenboy River in Carrigaline, Ballea Castle is for sale, offering an opportunity for a buyer with €1.3m to spend to acquire a truly unique piece of Cork history.
The property, located about eight miles south of Cork City, was built in the 15th century and later extended into a three-storey fortified house in the 17th century, when it was home to the MacCarthy family.
In 1750, the castle was saved by the Hodder family, who restored the building and retained ownership until the early 1900s.
Most recently, Ballea Castle was the family home of Elaine and Mark Rhys-Davies, who took up the mantle of carefully preserving its original architectural features.
It’s magical from the outside, but the interior is jaw-droppingly beautiful, with all the mod cons carefully and tastefully incorporated. With 14 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, the property is arranged to include family, staff and guest accommodation.
A peek inside…
The ground floor includes two huge entrance halls, and an arched door with a yett, a gate or grille of latticed wrought iron bars. There’s a beautiful parquet floor, built in bookcase, an open fireplace with marble surround and a staircase door to a wine cellar.
A spacious sitting room offers acres of space for entertaining (what’s the point of owning a castle if you can’t host a hoolie, right?) and dinner would be served in the banqueting hall, which comes complete with a minstrel gallery and an enormous fireplace with a spit, two barbeques and log storage.
A separate breakfast room offers a space to relax in the morning (there’s a trap door and stone steps to dungeon here if your house guests linger too long) and there’s a kitchen, utility and conservatory too.
Modern bathroom fixtures blend seamlessly with the historic surroundings.
Near the staff kitchen, there are four bedrooms and shower rooms, while the lodge at the back entrance boasts three bedrooms, another kitchen, lounge and bathroom.
We can absolutely picture ourselves being more than comfortable in any one of these…
Across the courtyard is a farmhouse, known as ‘The Stable Mews’ with two bedrooms, a study, a lounge, kitchen, two bathrooms and a large hallway with a spiral staircase.
Naturally, there’s plenty of room for a pony or two; the stable yard and haggart comprise of a large barn and five stables, a tack room, a blacksmiths shed, workshop, Dutch barn and numerous ancient stone cottages.
Your gardener will be more than satisfied too; the mature walled gardens are magnificently planted and maintained and there are 50 acres of farmland and woodland to explore.
Summers could be spent dipping in an out of the outdoor swimming pool and toasting your good fortune with rosé in the south facing summerhouse – that’s when you’re not fishing the banks of the river on your own property, accessed via a water garden with terraces, steps and waterfalls leading down to the river.
Viewing, which is strictly by appointment only, can be arranged by contacting Michael Pigott Auctioneer & Valuer on 021 4373300.