Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate

Buy This Irish Castle for the Bargain Price of $7 Million

The 700-year-old Glin Castle in County Limerick, and all 380 of its acres, are on the market.

St. Patrick likely wasn’t much of a partier1, even as the day we celebrate him2 is full of indulgences. That said, if whiskey and Guinness and traditional Irish-American-style corned beef and cabbage aren’t enough of a fête for you, perhaps you’d like to pick up the ultimate party spot: an Irish castle.

Glin Castle, in west County Limerick, sits on 380 acres, 23 of which are “pleasure grounds”—the woodland walks and gardens, both landscaped and informal, that surround the building. If you’re into vintage houses, this one ought to do. It’s about 700 years old.

Glin Castle is located in County Limerick, Ireland, just over the Shannon Estuary from County Clare.
Glin Castle is located in County Limerick, Ireland, just over the Shannon Estuary from County Clare.
Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate

The Knights of Glin

Originally built by an order called the Knights of Glin, the castle was handed down for generations and served as the ancestral home to the FitzGerald clan. But the last Knight of Glin, Desmond FitzGerald, died in 2011. He had three daughters, but no sons, so he had no heir to assume the helm. (The three daughters all live outside of Ireland, anyway; one is even married to actor Dominic West, McNulty from The Wire.)

Before the patriarch's death, the family tried renting it out to celebs such as Mick Jagger. They then operated the 20,000-square-foot castle as a luxury bed-and-breakfast—what’s called a “Blue Book property”—from 2005 to 2009, but that wasn’t a time for booming business.

“The recession hit and they decided not to continue,” says Roseanne De Vere-Hunt, director and head of country homes, farms, and estates at Sherry FitzGerald (no direct relation), an affiliate of Christie's International Real Estate in Ireland. Luckily for the next owner, she says, “they spent about €2.5 million [$2.75 million] bringing it up to luxury standards.”

Seen here, the castle’s “double flying staircase” with a Venetian window that overlooks the garden.
Seen here, the castle’s “double flying staircase” with a Venetian window that overlooks the garden.
Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate

The castle has 21 bedrooms and includes a smoking room, a drawing room, and a library. Corinthian columns line the reception hall and lead to a magnificent staircase, the only "double flying staircase" in Ireland, lit by a Venetian window. Look close for decorative shamrocks; Glin's one of the first recorded places they were used. There’s also a gate lodge and a guest lodge done up in a hyperdecorative “gingerbread” style, for when your fête needs some overflow space. A dairy farm that comes with the property is fully operational thanks to a partnership agreement with the FitzGeralds and a local farmer.

The front hall with its screen of Corinthian columns, a neoclassical ceiling, and historic portraits of the Knights of Glin. The romantic title dates back to the early 13th century.
The front hall with its screen of Corinthian columns, a neoclassical ceiling, and historic portraits of the Knights of Glin. The romantic title dates back to the early 13th century.
Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate

If you’re worried about decorating 20,000 square feet, have no fear. Many of the castle’s contents and furnishings are for sale as well, most having been collected over lifetimes and expertly curated by the late knight, who himself was a key player in establishing the Irish Historical Trust. They include a set of sixteen 19th century Jacobean dining chairs; a turn-of-the-19th-century mahogany clock; and portraits of Knights of Glin through the ages. The collection is valued by Christie’s Auction House, where Desmond FitzGerald worked as the Irish representative, at €2.35 million, and is offered separately from the rest of the estate.

The collection of furnishings, décor, and art is offered separately from the rest of the estate.
The collection of furnishings, décor, and art is offered separately from the rest of the estate.
Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate

Co-op vs. Castle

By American—or at least New York or San Francisco—standards, the castle, its grounds, and adjacent buildings are a bargain at a mere €6.5 million, or around $7.2 million. If you want to buy a place on the route of New York’s famous St. Patrick’s Day parade (it's the oldest in the world), which runs from 44th to 79th streets up Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, you’re more likely to get a three-bed, two-bath co-op like this one. It’s not bad (look at that terrace!), but it’s no castle.

The property, says De Vere-Hunt, “has seen considerable interest from international buyers, particularly American, many of them with Irish heritage looking for a piece of Irish history and soil.” And luckily those folks can pass it on to their children, no matter what gender they may be.

The 23 acres of mature pleasure grounds include well-thought-out formal gardens as well as informal gardens that link to the wider parkland estate’s woodland walks.
The 23 acres of mature pleasure grounds include well-thought-out formal gardens as well as informal gardens that link to the wider parkland estate’s woodland walks.
Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate

Glin Castle can be operated as a B&B again, now that the economy has picked up, or as a full-time or country residence. De Vere-Hunt thinks it’s particularly well-suited for a seasonal home, one that an owner could rent out the rest of the year. After all, the castle sits about an hour west of Limerick city and Shannon International Airport, making it easy to get back and forth to the States or Europe.

But, let’s face it, with 380 acres you probably have room to add an airstrip and land your private plane.

Glin Castle overlooks the Shannon Estuary on the periphery of Glin village. It’s an hour’s drive from Limerick city center and about 2.5 hours from Dublin.
Glin Castle overlooks the Shannon Estuary on the periphery of Glin village. It’s an hour’s drive from Limerick city center and about 2.5 hours from Dublin.
Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate
Some 380 acres of mature parkland are ripe for hunts with the North Kerry Harriers club.
Some 380 acres of mature parkland are ripe for hunts with the North Kerry Harriers club.
Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate

 

Here, the dining room. Those 19th century Jacobean dining chairs are for sale, too, in a set of 16.
Here, the dining room. Those 19th century Jacobean dining chairs are for sale, too, in a set of 16.
Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate
One of Glin Castle’s 21 bedrooms.
One of Glin Castle’s 21 bedrooms.
Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate
Yes, there’s more modern, modest rooms in the castle, too—like this living room/library.
Yes, there’s more modern, modest rooms in the castle, too—like this living room/library.
Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate
Glin Castle spans some 20,000 square feet. Here, the dine-in kitchen.
Glin Castle spans some 20,000 square feet. Here, the dine-in kitchen.
Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate
Decorative plasterwork comes with the sale. FitzGerald’s notable collection of Irish furniture and paintings is valued by Christie’s at an additional $2.6 million.
Decorative plasterwork comes with the sale. FitzGerald’s notable collection of Irish furniture and paintings is valued by Christie’s at an additional $2.6 million.
Source: Sherry FitzGerald/Christie's International Real Estate
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  1. 1 Patrick (neé Maewyn Succat) was a Briton (or perhaps a Roman) who was kidnapped and brought to Ireland against his will, eventually becoming a priest and converting the Irish from paganism to Christianity. Not exactly a fun-loving lifetime.
  2. 2 St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 A.D.