Lush Limerick island, with six-bed house nestled in nature, for €2.25m

Superb Georgian house on a nine-acre island in the village of Castleconnell

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Address: Island House, Cloon Island, Castleconnell, Co Limerick
Price: €2,250,000
Agent: Murphy Gubbins
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It’s hard to describe Island House in Castleconnell, Co Limerick, without using too many superlatives.

The 200-year-old pile just ticks so many boxes. Its setting is a nine-acre island just minutes from the pretty village of Castleconnell, accessed by a private bridge with castellated ramparts.

But while the house, which plays “a significant role in the land and river scape of Castleconnell” according to the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, may stand on an island, residents can be in the village within five minutes’ stroll for morning papers or evening pints in one of the many quaint hostelries in the locality.

Add a medieval chapel dating from 1291, believed to have been part of a Franciscan friary founded by Reginald de Burgh, and the fact that the house is beside Beat 2 of the local fishery for salmon and trout, and you can understand why the owners of Island House have really loved their home for the past 37 years.


“When we first moved here, ghillies would knock on the back door asking if we wanted a salmon, and the wildlife is incredible. We installed a camera that captures the animals at night and the place is full of badgers, fox, otters and red squirrels.”

Although the property does not have private fishing rights, new owners can purchase licences from the ESB, which operates the Castleconnell Salmon Fishery: "one of the most prestigious salmon fisheries in the country", according to its website.

This stretch of water – a branch of the River Shannon – is a haven for herons, famous for its swans and a lovely spot for rowing and kayaking. A second little island lies beside an old eel fishery on the grounds and is accessed by a tiny bridge.

An abundance of trees – a mixture of deciduous and evergreen – provide a verdant canopy for privacy, and the beech walk, through a double bank of beech trees, will keep owners fit. Grounds are planted with herbaceous borders including rhododendron, azaleas and magnolias so there is year-round colour.

From the front façade with its fluted Doric portico, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this house lies on one level. But that’s the thing about these old, villa-style houses; they are totally deceptive and this property is set two storeys over basement. But with the addition of a wine cellar, and a new office in an upstairs part of the roof valley, you could really say it occupies four floors, and extends to a very generous 510sq m (5,490sq ft).

The Irish owner moved from Belgium, having worked in the aircraft leasing industry with GPA for many years. Together with his wife, the couple have raised their brood at Island House.

“It’s really a great house for a family. We have had 21st parties and weddings here and needless to say it’s great for entertaining. What I will really miss – besides walking to the village for the paper in the mornings – is the sound of the river when relaxing in the evening with a glass of wine.”

Interiors, like the grounds, are well kept with all the period details intact and full of contemporaneous antiques. In 1990 the family engaged architect Brian Grubb to design a double-height curvilinear conservatory that straddles a double-height extension to the rear, and to install an office into an area in the valley in the roof, which is accessed by an impressive French wooden spiral staircase.

The property is now inverted, with all bedrooms lying on the ground floor allowing greater views of the gardens from the four reception rooms upstairs. The kitchen, though completed in 1990, has really not dated, and its French navy is right on trend with current fashion.

When foundations were being laid for the new build in 1990, space was found for a 500-capacity wine cellar.

Lying at the edge of the village of Castleconnell, it is just a short walk to the train station that links with the Intercity service to Dublin.

All in all it is a stunning house, on magical grounds like the perfect spot for Enid Blyton adventures. A word of caution; don't bring your kids to view the place if you are not going to buy it, as they truly will never forgive you.

Island House, which has six bedrooms and is Ber-exempt, is now on the market through Murphy Gubbins seeking €2.25m.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables