Tori Amos’s Kinsale home sells for more than a song

Ballywilliam House, a striking Georgian home with its own beach, goes for €1.2m

Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos has sold

Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos has sold

 

Tori Amos, the American singer-songwriter, has sold her Kinsale home, a striking Georgian house with private beach on the River Bandon near the Co Cork town that she has owned for more than 20 years and where she recorded her album Boys for Pele.

Tori Amos, who is selling Ballywilliam House. Photograph: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty
Tori Amos. Photograph: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

Ballywilliam House, on about 2.4ac, was offered for sale in September 2018, asking €1.45 million, but has just appeared on the property-price register as having sold for just over €1.19 million, a drop of 18 per cent.

Amos, who also has homes in Florida and Cornwall, bought the slate-fronted 1816 house in the mid-1990s. She has said she came to Ireland in search of a religious energy – and the spirit of her father, who was Scots Irish. She used the house as a recording studio and its cavernous vaults as a theatre and party venue where bonfires were lit under an open-air grid.

The house is built to classic Georgian proportions, with tall many-paned windows letting in lots of light. According to Celia Lamb of the selling agent, Wilsons Auctions, Ballywilliam’s kitchen “is the heart and soul of the home, and its faithful Aga stove and oven have made multicultural feasts for visiting artists. Many dinners have been followed by a bonfire in the outdoor theatre, where stories were shared and songs were sung under the stars.”

Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos is selling
Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos has sold, has its own beach on the River Bandon
The drawing room at Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos is selling
The drawing room at Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos has sold
The entrance hall at Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos is selling
The entrance hall at Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos has sold
The main bathroom at Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos is selling
The main bathroom at Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos has sold
The vaults at Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos is selling
The vaults at Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos has sold
The vaults at Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos is selling, have an open-air grid that allowed bonfires to be lit
The vaults at Ballywilliam House, which Tori Amos has sold, have an open-air grid that allowed bonfires to be lit

Amos carried out renovations over the years while keeping the house in as authentic a style as possible. Several of the rooms are painted in deep Georgian colours, including a rich red in the drawing room and sunshine yellow in the main bathroom. The grounds include lawns and an orchard, all surrounded by drystone walls.

In the early 20th century the house was owned by Dr George Vickery, Kinsale’s dispensary doctor, who practised until his retirement, in 1920.  This was a turbulent time in Irish history with strong republican insurgency against British rule and Cork one of the most rebellious counties. At one point, rebels arrived at Ballywilliam late one night and informed Vickery that they needed to occupy the property. He responded that he knew every one of them, that he had brought many of them into the world, and that they could go away now and stop bothering him. They complied.