History blooms in botanist's early home

January 18th, 2017 5:40 PM

By Southern Star Team

Ballylickey Manor is going for auction in Cork city, with its 11 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms.

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A STUNNING manor home overlooking Bantry Bay, with a fascinating history, is coming up for auction in Cork city shortly.

Ballylickey Manor, which is partly bordered by the Ouvane River, has a dual level lawn, and access to the sea from its mature, landscaped gardens.

Though owned by the Graves family in recent years, its most famous resident was probably Ireland’s first female botanist Ellen Huthchins – who now has a local festival in her name, held annually. 

Ellen lived for a short time in Ballylickey Manor in the 1700s, but the home was originally built as a hunting lodge. It has had several facelifts, not least of all after a fire destroyed a large part of it.

It was then rebuilt into two storeys and has been operating as luxury guest accommodation in recent decades, and even secured a coveted Michelin star in the 1970s.

Owned by George and the late Christiane Graves, George’s son Paco has opted to put the impressive 11-bed, 12-bathroom mansion up for auction on January 25th, with a guide price of €850,000 – a significant drop from an earlier price closer to €1.5m.

Paco is a well-known businessman, having lent his name to the popular clothing brand of the same name, which has several shops around Ireland.

The home could easily slot back into its guest accommodation role, with its prime location off the Wild Atlantic Way, and close to many notable tourist attractions like the pretty village of Glengarriff with its nearby nature reserve, the splendid Gougane Barra to the north, and the joys of Bantry town and bay on its doorstep. The home itself is laid out with a separate entrance and reception for guests, who also benefit from their own guest lounge, which opens onto the majestic lawns.

All guest rooms are en-suite, and there are kitchens for both commercial and domestic use.

The home kitchen is decorated in eggshell blue, with solid wood units and an oil-fired Aga, with a tiled surround and double oven. There are also spotlights and a ceramic tiled floor. The guest cloakroom has a WC and there is nearby access to the rear yard.

There is also a games room, with timber paneled walls, and a utility room with a sink and shelving. There is also a store room, or pantry, with delph shelving.

The commercial kitchen has a garland gas cooker, an oven and stainless steel counter top. The garage is tiled and has strip lighting installed.

There is also a library with a brick fireplace, and a guest dining room, also with a brick fireplace and timber surround, with timber panelled walls, surrounding a bay window. There is a small office area at this level.

On the first floor there is a study area overlooking the lawn, a laundry room, a master bedroom, which has adjoining doors to the second bedroom. There are seven bedrooms in total at this level including a guest suite, with a bedroom and sitting room.

Outside there are three apartments in one block, which could be used as staff accommodation. In the garden, there is a wonderful collection of plant species, which are laid out amongst the pathways leading over small bridges, around little pools and through the woods. Kitty Graves, the current owner's mother, was a keen gardener who landscaped the gardens of the manor house.

A botanist’s haven, indeed, but with the added bonus of a swimming pool overlooked by the pool house, with its ladies & gents toilets, a sun terrace, lounge with bar and full kitchen and barbecue area.

There are also garden cottages with additional en-suite bedrooms, and a single bedroom with built-in wardrobe.

The house is BER exempt and is a very special property.

The joint agents are Dominic Daly in Cork (021 4277399) and Ganly Walters in Dublin (01 6623255) and the auction takes place in the Imperial Hotel in Cork at 3pm on Wednesday January 25th.

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