Sunday, July 24, 2022

Sarah Mooney

If you’ve aspirations of running a country-house hotel after watching one-too-many episodes of At Your Service, this Co Cork property might just fit the bill.

Longueville House near Mallow boasts 18 bedrooms, 300 acres and its own brandy distillery – and is seeking a new owner ready to spend €7 million plus on the Georgian mansion.

The house overlooking the Blackwater river valley is steeped in history, first built in 1720 and enlarged around 1800 to become one of the largest houses in north Cork.

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

A glasshouse was added to the home’s east end in 1862 – the last to be constructed by Richard Turner, best known for the conservatory at Kew Gardens in London.

The house was built by the Longfield family, who changed the name of the estate to Longueville when one of their members became Baron Longueville in 1795.

However, it was bought from the Longfields in 1938 by senator William O’Callaghan – with the O’Callaghans saying their forebears were originally deprived of the property in 1650.

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

The senator’s son and daughter-in-law first opened the home’s doors to the public as a bed and breakfast in 1969, and his grandson today runs the four-star Blue Book guesthouse alongside his wife.

Now the future of the country estate is once more up for grabs, with selling agents Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty noting the house could continue to operate as a hotel or transform back into a very grand family home.

“A myriad of use options available to a new owner range from use exclusively as a commercial hotel resort to being an entirely private family home resort,” it said.

The building’s scale is “favourable” to being a large private home, it added of the 2,223sq m main house, with “comfortable reception rooms and generous bedroom suites” – all principal ones south-facing.

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

“Inside the principal accommodation is bright and well-proportioned, with much of the original Georgian character retained,” the agent said.

“Open fires, superb natural light from tall large windows, strong broadband wi-fi connectivity and room-controlled central heating make Longueville thoroughly pleasant and comfortable.”

Expansion of the current hotel is another option for prospective buyers, with planning permission granted in 2007 to add around 80 further bedrooms for hotel use – although this has since lapsed.

Further accommodation is also available in four lodges dotted across the estate, which is a mix of mature woodland and arable lands interlaced with walking trails and old bridleways.

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo: Courtesy of Lisney Sotheby’s International Realty

A riverbank walk within the estate also includes fishing along a one-mile stretch, notable for salmon and brown trout.

An extensive apple orchard supplies apples to the estate cider brewery and brandy distillery, which produces Longueville’s Craft Cider and Apple Brandy, while orchard bees produce estate honey.

It’s clear Longueville is built for a high-flying buyer, with the selling agents noting that Cork Airport is a 45-minute drive away, while Kerry airport – with private jet facilities – is just over an hour’s drive.

At least those of us without €7 million to spend could probably pay a visit as guests rather than owners.

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