Country house for sale in Ballywilliam House, Kinsale, Co Cork County, Munster, Ireland

£1,243,629 (€1,450,000 (€321/sq. ft) )
Country house for sale - 4 bedrooms 4 3 3 4,520 sq. ft*
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Property features

  • Waterfront

Property description

Ballywilliam House, Kinsale, Co Cork, Ireland

Kinsale 5km, N7 12km, Cork Airport 22km, Cork City 30km

Main House

Ground Floor

• Entrance Hall • Inner Hall • Bathroom/Cloakroom • Drawing Room • Dining Room • Kitchen

First Floor

• 4 arge Bedrooms • Family Bathroom

Lower Ground Floor

• 4 large rooms suitable for a variety of uses • Bathroom • Door Access to Outside

Grounds & Outside

• Rear Stone Courtyard • Kitchen Garden Terraced Lawns • Fruit Orchard • Specimen Trees • Moat • Vaulted Entertaining Rooms & Fire Circle
• Meandering Paths to the Woodland and River • Flowering Shrubs • Stone Amphitheatre & Fire Pit
• Smokery/Fishing Lodge • Extensive River Frontage • Sandy Freshwater Beach
• Remains of a Fishing Jetty

Historical Note

Ballywilliam House is believed to be the seat of the Barter family. Ballywilliam House has existed in some form on lands at Ballywilliam since 1765, when the Barter family first established itself in County Cork. William Barter is believed to have built the house that stands today in 1816. Several members of the Barter family held lands in and around Kinsale in the 1870s, including Benjamin, who owned over 400 acres at Ballywilliam as well as other lands near Ballinhassig.

On Saturday 27th April 1839, Benjamin Barter advertised Ballywilliam House, out-offices and demesne of 100 acres for lease. He highlighted the demesne's salmon fishery and quay.

By 1870, Benjamin Barter was back living in Ballywilliam House with his wife, Mary. Benjamin died in 1874, and in 1875, Mary Barter offered Ballywilliam House out for lease. By 1884 she was looking to sell the property, along with other lands the family held near Ballygarvan. In 1886, Ballywilliam House was bought privately through a soli ci to r. The buyer was eventually revealed to be Dr. George Vickery, Kinsale's dispensary doctor.

Dr. Vickery continued to practice as a dispensary doctor in the town of Kinsale until his retirement in 1920. By this time, the War of Independence was underway, leading ultimately to the occupation of Kinsale town by Anti-Treaty forces in July 1922.

As the Free State (Pro-Treaty) forces advanced on the town, the Anti-Treaty ira began to occupy strategic positions around the town to prepare for its defence. One of the buildings they had their eyes on was Ballywilliam House, which overlooked the Bandon River, and across which the Free State army eventually attacked. The Anti-Treaty troops arrived at the house late one night and informed Dr. Vickery that they needed to occupy the house. Dr. Vickery testily responded that he knew every one of them, had brought many of them into the world, and that they could go away now and stop bothering him. They complied.

The Vickery family resided at Ballywilliam until 1960. It then became the residence of the Webb family until 1970, when it was bought by the Bray family.

The current owners purchased the house in 1995 and lovingly restored it inside and out. They took great care and attention to maintain the original form and spirit of Ballywilliam House.

Artists at Ballywilliam House
Many songs have been written in the house and on the grounds of Ballywilliam.

The house was transformed into a residential recording studio in 1995 for the album Boys For Pele by Tori Amos and her team. In 2011, the classical label Deutsche Grammophon released Night of Hunters, Tori's twelfth studio album.

The label asked Tori to compose a modern song cycle based on variations of existing classical themes. The protagonist in the song cycle narrative finds herself at Ballywilliam House. As magical forces guide the protagonist on an emotional and spiritual journey into the unknown, the house and grounds serve as her protector.

The photographs for the Night of Hunters project were all taken at Ballywilliam House, including the river shots and the bonfire sequence. The video for Star Whisperer, which was designed for a song on the album, was filmed here as well.

This home has been a place of creativity for Tori and for a multitude of other musicians who have recorded at the house. Ballywilliam has had several artists in residence. Visual artists talk about the light as an inspiration in different seasons. Novels have also been written here, with one author vowing that echoes of the faintest music, possibly from another century, kept him company while writing one of his books.

The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home, and its faithful aga stove and oven have made multicultural feasts for visiting artists. Many dinners have been followed by a bonfire in the outdoor theatre, where stories were shared and songs were sung under the stars.

Ballywilliam House

Ballywilliam House sits on an elevated site overlooking the River Bandon in one of the most desirable waterfront locations in the country. One meanders along the river and is awestruck by the house sitting proud above upon turning the final bend.

The house is approached via a tree line avenue, through the orchard to the side of the house. Ballywilliam House is a five-bay, two-story over basement period residence dated 1816. Two sides of the house are faced in original hand-cut weathered slate, a rare sight today. A handsome carved limestone doorcase with original fanlight overhead and limestone steps provides the entrance.

The house is airy and filled with light in the main, due to the tall ceilings and extraordinary twelve-over-twelve pane sash windows. A generous central hallway leads to the main drawing and dining rooms, both with original fireplaces, timber floor s, and extensive sash shutter windows, with magnificent views of the river and verdant countryside beyond. A gracious country kitchen is also accessible from the hall, along with a bathroom and cloakroom. Of particular note is the curved cantilevered staircase with spectacular oriel window leading upstairs.

Four good sized bedrooms are positioned off a large landing upstairs, and a family bathroom, again with the most wonderful views of the river.

Downstairs, there are four big rooms and a bathroom, which could be converted for a variety of uses. There is also a door to the outside at this level.There is a wonderful flow throughout the house, perfect for family life or entertaining on a grand scale.

Ballywilliam House provides the rare and exclusive combination of peace, privacy, direct water access, and far-reaching views.

The Grounds

Terraced lawns surround the house, where you can relax and enjoy the everchanging scenery or watch the extensive wildlife that visits the gardens. A large stone moat surrounds the house, which can be accessed by charming stone steps. From here, one enters the large vaults. Originally used for coal and storage, the vaults are now more commonly used for high days and holidays and are great for parties. There is a smokery at the centre. To the rear of the house are the original cut-stone courtyard and kitchen gardens, boarded with scented shrubs and array of herbs. To the east is the sheltered orchard, bountiful with apples, pears, and plum trees. Specimen trees are dotted throughout the property, including a great Irish Oak.

A grass path weaves through wild flowers, woodland, and roses down towards the magical waterfront. Hidden in the woodland, the current owners have built a dry-stone seated theatre complete with fire pit. The jewel in the crown has to be the fresh water beach at the water's edge. Remnants of the old jetty and fishing smokery are still in place. The River Bandon is famous for its Atlantic Salmon fishing, and in 2008 a fisherman landed a whopper weighing 28 pounds and 3 ounces. For the fly fisherman, sea and brown trout are also in abundance.

The house is at the end of a 2km cul-de-sac and offers the utmost privacy. Once inside the gates, you enter a majestic haven that offers peace and tranquility away from today's bustling world.


A five-minute drive from Ballywilliam House is the picturesque historic harbour town of Kinsale, located on the Southern West Coast of Ireland in County Cork. Two 17th-century fortresses overlook the River Bandon: The vast, star-shaped Charles Fort to the southeast and the smaller James Fort on the river's opposite bank. The 16th-century courthouse building houses the Kinsale Regional Museum, which has a variety of displays on local history and information about the 1915 sinking of the rms Lusitania. Kinsale is renowned for its numerous restaurants, hotels, pubs, galleries, and shops. Thirty years ago, Kinsale pioneered the Slow Food Movement, as local artisan food producers joined forces with chefs to produce a wonderful and diverse array of food. West Cork has long been a popular destination with Irish holidaymakers and overseas visitors. This is largely due to the exceptional scenery and range of recreational activities found in the area, which include golf, sailing, and fishing.

There is excellent fly-fishing on the Bandon River, as well as sea angling off the coast. The world-renowned Old Head Golf Links is to the south, and Kinsale's location affords good access to the numerous golf links of the East and South Coast of Ireland including Ballybunnion, Waterville, and many more.

The oldest yacht club in the world, The Royal Cork Yacht Club, is 15 miles to the northeast, and Kinsale Yacht Club is 3 miles
east. Ballywilliam House has direct access to the Bandon River with boat access at Kinsale Town.

West Cork offers stunning scenery with exceptional hill-walks along the coastal areas of Seven Heads, Sheep's Head, and Black Head.

There are plenty of great beaches in and around Kinsale, including The Dock, Garrylucas, and Garretstown. If you just fancy a swim in the sea, Sandycove is one of the best swimming locations in Ireland. Cork City, Ireland's second largest city, is only a half hour drive, and Cork International Airport is just 20 minutes from Ballywilliam House.

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