One of Ireland’s finest country estates and Palladian mansions, Castletown Cox in Co Kilkenny, has been purchased by an international buyer for more than €20 million.
The 513 acre estate on the Tipperary-Waterford border was placed on the market eight months ago seeking €17.5million.
Selling agent James Meagher of Knight Frank declined to comment on the sale except to confirm that it had happened in recent weeks.
It marks the biggest residential estate sale in the State since Castlemartin, the home of former businessman Anthony O'Reilly on 750 acres in Kildare, sold to US businessman John Malone for €28 million in 2014.
Staff at the Castletown Cox estate, which is close to Piltown, were informed of the sale in recent days.
Despite apparently strong interest in the property which helped drive the final price well above its asking, the sale was nearly scuppered by a family dispute at launch last July.
Castletown Cox was purchased by its extremely private owners, the UK-based Magan family in 1999
Edward Magan, a beneficiary of the family trust which owns the property objected to the sale, and sought an injunction to stop the publication of an article in The Irish Times about the sale.
At a late sitting of the High Court, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan concluded that the row centred on "an interfamily dispute" and refused to grant the injunction.
Castletown Cox was purchased by its extremely private owners, the UK-based Magan family in 1999. Lord George Magan, a retired banker and former chairman of the British Conservative party, with his wife Wendy, bought the estate in poor repair and undertook its restoration at a cost of millions.
Historically described as "Ireland's most beautiful house" there is little written about it, though it ranks alongside aviation tycoon Tony Ryan's restored Lyons Estate in Co Kildare (bought from the family estate by son Shane Ryan for an estimated €18m in 2016), Powerscourt House in Co Wicklow and Carton House in Co Kildare.
A newly installed lift services all levels, and 10 bedrooms arranged across two floors in the main building are all en suite
Castletown runs to 36,630sq ft, and started life in 1767 as a statement home for the Protestant Archbishop of Cashel, Michael Cox. Cox commissioned Sardinian architect Davis Ducart, to build the house to a Palladian plan, modelled, it is believed on William Wynde's Buckingham House in London (later Buckingham Palace).
The Rococo plasterwork is by famed stuccodore Patrick Osborne of Waterford and ecclesiastical art hangs on every floor.
A newly installed lift services all levels, and 10 bedrooms arranged across two floors in the main building are all en suite. The adjoining wings include a billiards room, ballroom, a model room (where a model of the property stands), a gym, a vestuary and a range of staff accommodation.
Castletown through the years has had a series of interesting owners, including for many decades Major General ER Blacque and family. Its most controversial owner was the self-styled Baron Brian de Breffny, who died in 1989.
The son of a London taxi driver turned bookie, he invented the title, and first married an Indian princess before settling with his second wife, a Finnish widow, Ulli, at Castletown and pursuing a lavish party lifestyle.