Irish private island sales are rising as international buyers warm to their seclusion, security, ‘green’ appeal and value for money

SALES in the Irish Isles have skyrocketed over the past five years as international buyers warm to its remoteness, safety, ‘green’ appeal and value for money compared to Caribbean and Mediterranean hideaways.

A specialty sales website has almost halved the number of Irish islands on offer in recent years due to so-called ’boutique’ sales.

Three years ago, Private Islands Online (PIO) had a total of nine Irish properties listed for sale, ranging from remote islands off the west and south west coasts to smaller, more sheltered islands in Irish lochs.

Now their island offering has been reduced to five including Rabbit Island, Inish Beg, Shore, West Calf and Mannion’s Island.

The auctioneers stressed that with increasing interest in environmental protection and “green” living, islands have never been more attractive to wealthy investors.

Currency trends have also made the Irish islands extremely attractive to investors.

One of the most notable Irish Isles sales was in 2020 when 157 acres of Horse Island off West Cork were sold for €5.5million.

Incredibly, it was sold via video, with the buyer – a Cypriot investor – never actually visiting the island. It has been one of the most developed Irish islands in recent years.

It had its own luxurious six-bedroom main house and six guest cabins, as well as its own pier, helipad and playhouse with sauna.

Another sale was Castle Island, also in West Cork.

The 123-hectare island in Roaringwater Bay has been sold by its longtime owner for €1.5 million.

Its new owner is an English businessman based in France who wanted West Cork Island as a future retreat.

Last year, the dune-covered Mayo island of Bartragh sold for €1.1 million.

English golfer and Masters champion Nick Faldo had hoped to build a golf course on the island, but his dream never came to fruition.

Bartragh comprises 440 acres of mostly sand dunes in Killala Bay.

Its new owner, understood as a European investor, hopes to develop the island into an environmentally sustainable farming operation, complete with a luxury home that can be used for high-end holidays.

PIO lists the selling points of some Irish islands as accessibility to the mainland, existing facilities or demolished structures that can secure planning permission for new luxury properties.

Farming land is also a key selling point for European and North American buyers looking to underscore their ‘green’ credentials.

Among the most attractive islands still available on the market is West Calf off the west coast of Cork.

West Calf Island, the westernmost of the three Calf Islands in Roaringwater Bay in west Cork, is offered for sale complete with several run down farmhouses which could allow any buyer to develop their own luxury island hideaway.

The island consists of 25 hectares (62 acres) of land and is approximately 4 km off the west coast of Cork.

PrivateIslandsOnline said West Calf Island offers a dream life with “beautiful scenery and excellent sailing… a perfect balance between the peaceful seclusion of your own island and also the many interesting historic villages and towns of South West Cork to enjoy and explore.” .”

At its highest point, the island is 28m high and boasts its own freshwater lake.

As per Cork County Development Plan guidelines, any use of the island that benefits the local community would enhance all development plans

– with the sellers proposing an alpaca farm.

“There’s a freshwater lake on the island that’s traditionally used for raising cattle, so maybe alpacas could add some needed spice,” he advised.

About 20 people lived on the island over 100 years ago, although it has been virtually uninhabited for decades.

The 1911 census showed that the three Calf Islands off West Cork had a total population of 80 inhabitants with a schoolhouse on Middle Calf Island.

Of the three islands, East Calf Island is the only one that is inhabited today, though only during the summer months.

The main inhabited Cork Islands are close by including Cape Clear and Sherkin Island with the famous Fastnet Rock to the south.

West Calf Island offers no utilities like electricity or running water – and access is only by boat on the island’s east side, where a gentle shelf drops into the sea.

However, there is no dock or jetty.

Boat connections to the island would probably operate from Schull.

Vendors advise that the fishing off the island is “fantastic…with wrasse, sea bass, mackerel and pollack galore. Lobster from the canyon is really tasty. On the mainland, the Ilen River offers brown and sea trout and also Atlantic salmon.”

Four other Irish islands are currently on the market for private purchase – Mannion, Shore, Inish Beg and Rabbit Islands – with prices ranging from €245,000 to over €1m. Irish private island sales are rising as international buyers warm to their seclusion, security, ‘green’ appeal and value for money

Fry Electronics Team

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