Mystery buyer aims to breathe new life into a rundown Killeavy Castle
Published 13/03/2013 | 00:00
A man's home is his castle, as the saying goes.
For one lucky bidder that really is the case after he snapped up Killeavy Castle, which is situated in south Armagh.
The overseas buyer, whose identity is not yet known, paid £1.19m at auction for the castle which dates back to the early 1800s.
The castle, situated on the slopes of Slieve Gullion, boasts medieval-style towers and underground tunnels once used by servants working there.
It went on the market last October with a guide price of £975,000, which included the surrounding estate and farm totalling 134 acres.
The price also included 202 acres of timber woodland which is currently leased to the Department of Agriculture.
The castle itself is 4,000 sq ft and in need of complete renovation, having been unoccupied for over a decade.
Despite a slow response initially, the opportunity to own the rare grade one listed property prompted significant interest in the run-up to Friday night's auction.
Director of Best Property Services, Garry Best, said little is known of the new owner.
"His solicitor has advised he lives overseas.
"But he has relations and connections in this region," said Mr Best.
"I'm given to understand that this will be a five to 10 year restoration project for the new owner."
The building started out as an elaborate gothic-style farm lodge and was built between 1810 and 1820 by the Foxall family who ran a private bank in Newry at the time.
In 1836 they commissioned a Dublin architect to add four stone towers to the lodge as well as Tudor-style windows.
It became known locally as Killeavy Castle.
In 1881 the castle became the property of another family, the Bells, who had it in their possession until the death of Maureen Bell in 2000.
Mr Best added: "There has been significant local and media interest in the property in recent months.
"The local community have a huge desire to see the castle restored to its former glory so it's certainly going to be a very interesting to see how the new owner develops the property."