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For sale: Be king of fairytale castle near Cullybackey - owner slashes price by £300,000

By Stephanie Bell

The chance to be king - or queen - of your own castle just got a whole lot cheaper after the price of a historic beauty was dramatically dropped by £300,000.

Craigdun, a fairytale castle close to Cullybackey, has been on the market for a year and has had its price cut from £795,000 to offers over £495,000.

The spectacular property has a rich history and was once the home of fiery Unionist MP Ronald McNeill, also known as Lord Cushendun, who famously threw a book during a fraught Home Rule debate and struck Winston Churchill on the head.

Although there has been a lot of interest in the property, the current owner wants to ensure its sale this year, which is why the price has been reduced.

Ryan Gregg, property sales manager for selling agents Rainey & Gregg Property and Mortgage Centre, said: "Despite a high level of interest since initially marketing the property, the vendor has decided that he wants to ensure as best as possible that the castle sells this year, and we felt a significant price reduction was the best way forward.

"Given the residential and commercial potential of the castle, the new owner is going to pick up a genuine one-off bargain."

The Co Antrim castle is thought to have been designed by famous architect Charles Lanyon.

It was built in the Scottish baronial style during the 1860s by Ronald's father, 'Long Eddie' McNeill.

Ronald McNeill sold the castle in 1912 to the Stott linen family, and Doreen Stott donated it to the Northern Ireland Health Service after her son Peter died of multiple sclerosis (MS).

It was transformed into an MS treatment centre but was taken over in the 1990s by former fish farmer William Baird, who lived there with his wife Romayne before selling it to the current owners.

They restored it into a comfortable family home with formal gardens and their efforts were rewarded when the castle made it to the final of BBC House of the Year in 2011.

Craigdun Castle is built of basalt with a five-storey tower to the front, but runs deep to the rear with the main accommodation in a lengthy wing.

It has many typical baronial features, including crow step gables, conical turrets and mock defensive features such as crenellations and arrow slits. The tower has two rooms at each level and is in need of some restoration.

The main floor has an outer hall, main hall, staircase hall, sun room, drawing room, dining room, kitchen, family room, boot rooms, annex and cellar.

A previous owner claims to have walked through the house, counting the rooms, and given up at 36.

Outside is a traditional stone courtyard with outbuildings, and 10.14 acres of land.

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