Fort William ticks all the boxes
on 08/01/2013 00:00:00
Sources say it is one of the finest private properties in Munster, "ticking all of the boxes for international buyers".
It was built in 1836 for the West Waterford Gumbleton family, and was owned in recent years by the late London businessman and keen angler Ion Agnew and his artist wife Sara.
Fort William was quietly offered for sale with Irish country house specialist Michael H Daniels, who last night declined to comment on terms of the private deal, and it had been available to rent via Scottish-based castle and estate holiday agents Loyd and Townsend Rose, which also features Kilcoe and Lismore Castles among its Irish offerings.
Previous owners and occupants of Fort William included the second duke of Westminster, Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, whose fourth wife was Nancy Sullivan who grew up in Glanmire, Co Cork: She went on to own the great steeplechaser Arkle after the duke's death. A friend of the British Queen Mother, Ms Sullivan was wooed by the duke, who reportedly also had enjoyed a long liaison with fashion mogul Coco Chanel. The duke bought Fort William as an Irish fishing and horse-riding retreat, but mostly as a way to woo and wed Ms Sullivan, who was 30 years his junior. He grew up in Grosvenor House in London and, as well as Fort William, owned estates in Cheshire and Scotland.
Prior to the duke's purchase, Fort William had been rented for many decades. Tenants included Adele Astaire, sister and dance partner of Fred Astaire and widow of Lord Charles Cavendish of Lismore.
Fort William's new owners' identity has not yet emerged, but they are understood to be from Britain. Their acquisition includes the immaculate, restored early Victorian (1836) house designed by James and George Richard Pain for the Gumbleton family, two guest cottages, 400 acres of tillage and grazing land, glasshouses, croquet lawn, tennis court, and double-bank salmon fishing rights and five fishing beats along about 3km of the Blackwater, where the salmon start to run in January, just in time to meet its new owners.