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  • Trying to offload your island?

    July 26, 2012 @ 1:07 pm | by Edel Morgan

    I'm on an island, you're on a bigger island

    Today’s story about “The Secret Millionaire’s” island  in Clew Bay, Co Mayo being on the market for €2.85 million is The Irish Times  number one most read story today Click here. What intrigued me about the story wasn’t so much the fact that Nadim Sadek only appeared on RTE’s The Secret Millionaire a year ago and his island, Inis Turk Beg, is now in receivership, or the fact he spent €9 million building a sanctuary  on  the 65-acre island with five houses, craft centres , an all-weather football/basketball complex, an indoor heated swimming pool etc etc ….

    What I found surprising is the sheer number of islands that are on the market in this country at the moment. Although thinking about it logically, there are an awful lot of little islands around our coast  so given the current economic climate there are bound to be  people wanting to offload them tout suite . What seemed like a Utopian dream  back in the Celtic Tiger days might seem like a moment of madness  in more stringent times.

    But what I would like to know is how many of them are privately owned and why? A very interesting Wikipedia list Click here shows the population of Ireland’s islands in 1841 and in 2006. Clear island had a population of 1,052 which dwindled to 125. The Great Blasket Island went from 152 to 2 and Whiddy island went from 729 to 22 . Lots of them have no inhabitants whatsoever and these are the ones that tend to be  privately owned.

    Maybe someone should suggest  a mass auction of distressed islands  to Allsop Space?

    In the article today there’s a selection of four islands on the market at the moment (Inisliroo in Co Fermanagh for €770,000, Spanish Island in west Cork for €600,000, Shore Island in Co Clare for €900,00 and half of Mermaid Isle off the Ring of Kerry for €2.95 million.  There’s also one that’s for rent (Rabbit Island  in Galway asking €1,500 for the week). The cheapest  I came across was €150,000 for Mannions Island in  Cork (about the price  of a one-bed apartment in Dublin) up to €2.95 million for half of Mermaid Isle in Co Kerry  .

    An Island that wasnt included was  the 185-acre  Mutton Island, south of Galway Bay, being sold  through privateislandsonline.com  which targets “island investors” (price on application). In 548 AD, St. Senan constructed a church there and in  the 1700s, the island was home to wine and tobacco smugglers. Inhabited until 1948, Mutton Island contains the ruins of two cottages and an oratory, as well as a graveyard and several walled fields.The island has been inhabited since pre-history and there are  traces of potato plots.It also has an important breeding population of Grey Seal . Another one on the same website is Mannions Island in Dunmanus Bay, west Cork , a four-acre landholding asking €150,000.Then there’s Carbery and Cold Islands, also in Dunmanus Bay,  for sale through Dominic J Daly for €1.25 million.

    Believed to be owned by a middle eastern investor the principal island Carbery has 34 acres and  has a new single storey dormer house that was recently built.  Cold Island just to the east of Carbery is little more than a scattered rock outcrops of  about 4 acres with some grass and is also home to a Seal and Otter Colony. Another one is Quay Island in Bunratty, Co Clare,  a 24-acre island with a lighthouse  asking €400,000.

    Are there any other islands for sale that we haven’t mentioned?






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