Sunday, January 23, 2022

Nestled in the Cork countryside near the picturesque town of Kinsale is a hideaway – complete with private water frontage, an ancient forest and room to land four helicopters at once – that once played host to Michael Jackson.

The 14-bed Ballinacurra House is no stranger to celebrities, also counting members of European royalty among its former guests.

The private estate, which includes not only the fully-restored Georgian period property but also 20 acres of manicured lawns, a walled garden, ponds, a private jetty and a horse riding area, is on the market for €6.35 million.

There is also plenty of room for live-in staff, an onsite caretaker and security – for those of a certain lifestyle – with a four-bedroom stone cottage and another four-bedroom coach house in addition to the main house.

Estate agent for Knight Frank, Guy Craigie, says the complex could see a future with “a small wedding business who wants to take it on or a hotel operator or also [as a] family home.”

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

“It would make a great health or wellness retreat, given its proximity to Cork airport and Kinsale has its own amazing attributes. It’s got a lot going for it.”

Ballinacurra House estate has operated in recent years as an exclusive private rental venue, renting at up to €40,000 per week to wealthy guests and corporate entities, or as a popular private hire event space for weddings.

Among its former guests is the late singer Michael Jackson, who stayed at the estate for a number of weeks back in 2007 with his three children.

The property’s owners also previously revealed Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were interested in a stay when they honeymooned in Ireland in 2014 – but they had to refuse the couple as a private wedding was already booked in.

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

The 1,709-metres-squared house was restored and renovated over a 20-year period, with the main house boasting eight en-suite bedrooms – plus another six guest bedrooms in an “entertainment wing” that includes a ballroom and a bar.

Along with the main house’s traditional country-style kitchen, drawing room, dining room and other living spaces, there is also a commercial kitchen that could host either private chefs or catering fit for a hotel.

However, selling a €6.35 million property has been complicated by the Covid pandemic, with the estate first listed on the market in March 2021.

“We’re seeing an awful lot of international interest and a lot of American interest,” says Mr Craigie. However, with international travel limited amid the pandemic, the property has been mostly considered by domestic buyers, who tend to be buying for business.

“Very few people are going to buy without being able to physically see something,” Mr Craigie says of international buyers seeking an Irish retreat.

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

Outside, the property is fronted by 12-foot-high stone walls dating from the 16th century – with high electric gates guarding the tree-lined avenue that winds half a kilometre to the home’s front door.

Residents who have grown tired of entertainment inside the house can drive to a picnic area – without leaving their own grounds – where the estate has a private jetty and fishing deck onto Ballinacurra Creek and Whitecastle Creek, which feed into the Bandon River.

Alternatively, they can wander on foot or ride by horse through Kippagh Wood, the estate’s ancient Irish forest which can be accessed by a bridge over the Ballinacurra Creek.

Or, if they’re looking to host a sudden party in a pinch, they can land up to four helicopters of guests at a time on the flat West Wing field.

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank

Ballinacurra House. Photo: Courtesy of Knight Frank
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