Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Tycoon's £1.65m Quintin Castle home seized by Nama

It's a 12th century castle with grand rooms, a heliport, jetty and its own portcullis: all for a knockdown £1.65m

Quintin Castle near Portaferry, Co Down.
Quintin Castle near Portaferry, Co Down.
Quintin Castle near Portaferry, Co Down.
Quintin Castle near Portaferry, Co Down.
Quintin Castle near Portaferry, Co Down.
Quintin Castle near Portaferry, Co Down.

It may be the most expensive property ever repossessed in Northern Ireland. But now the historic Quintin Castle in Portaferry could be yours for as little as £1.65m.

Well-heeled house-hunters with a love of grandeur could snap up a genuine Norman castle perched on the Co Down coast.

The majestic looking property on the Ards Peninsula was formerly the pride and joy of Paul Neill, an aviation enthusiast who at one time owned a private jet and a helicopter.

Mr Neill, a property developer, purchased the grand home for £3.5m and began to renovate it in 2006–just as the property boom was about to reach its peak in Northern Ireland 12 months later.

He had a portfolio of properties in Belfast and Co Down, specially commissioned pieces of art and at one time his main company, Kilbright Developments, owned a Hawker 850 private jet valued at more than £5m.

Then in 2011 things changed.

The former Anglo Irish Bank took control of two of his retail parks in Bangor over a £37m debt and the property developer was declared bankrupt.

Then in April 2012 the Irish government's National Asset Management Agency (Nama) repossessed the castle. The building–which still has the remains of a demolished heliport standing in the grounds– has been placed on the market with an asking price of £1.65m.

The stately home has a dramatic location overlooking the Irish Sea and is complete with Victorian gardens.

It may look like a set from Game of Thrones but the stone-built property – with its tall octagonal towers, arrow slits and portcullis-style gates – is the real thing and was designed as an impressive fort to repel invaders.

Built in 1184 by Norman settler John de Courcy, the ancient central tower formed a protection and vantage point on the Ards Peninsula.

At at one stage the castle was virtually a ruin but was restored in the 19th century.

Now, the accommodation is suitably grand, and includes a reception hall, drawing room, dining room, library, study, billiards room, kitchen, breakfast room, family room, seven en suite bedrooms, four bedroom suites, a two-bedroom guest annex, private jetty, roof terrace, formal gardens in terraces, walled garden, stone turrets, a gazebo and two paddocks.

The sale of the castle is being handled by joint agents Templeton Robinson and Knight Frank in Dublin.

Beth Robinson of Templeton Robinson, said: "This is a beautifully restored castle, sitting on the coastline with spectacular views.

"It's not often we get instructions to sell a castle together with 22 acres of agricultural land."

View the property on PropertyNews.com here

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