The Magic of Ireland
Properties in rural Ireland are often the stuff of fairytales, discovers Katharine Acland, as she meets the owner of an historic castle, and hunts out some of the most desirable country houses currently on the market.
There is no denying the allure of Ireland. This Irish landscape is as beautiful as it is varied, but it’s not only the picture-postcard countryside that’s the attraction; it’s mystery and the tangible sense of time standing still. Little wonder then, that many Irish country houses can match their surroundings when it comes to romantic appeal.
Romantic appeal is a department in which Crom Castle in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, certainly does not fall short. Here the romance resonates from the very walls of the magnificent Victorian castle, with its turrets and crenelated towers stretching skywards above enchanting parkland. The lucky owner of this magical corner of Ireland is John, Lord Crichton, who runs the castle with his father, the 6th Earl of Erne. The castle is not only their ancestral seat and much-loved family home, but over the past four years has developed a more commercial arm in order to meet rising running costs.
Today, thanks to the hard work of John and his father, Crom continues the tradition of hospitality for which it was originally built. After extensive refurbishment, the self-contained West Wing of the castle is now available to those who want the experience of staying in a truly remarkable ancestral home, now complete with all mod cons and luxuries.
Wonderfully remote, Crom offers a real escapism, which John himself enjoys on his regular jaunts home across the Irish Sea. Based in London, he has a successful career at the Chelsea branch of estate agents Lane Fox. For someone whose passion for property is so clearly reflected in his love and restoration of Crom, it is not surprising that he should have ended up in the property world.
“Those who come to stay at Crom are blown away by it,” says John. It is not hard to see why. Built in the 1830s, after the original castle was destroyed by fire, it was designed by the English Architect Edward Blore, best known for his work on Buckingham Palace. The enigmatic ruins of the original castle lie on the shore of Lough Erne, one of the longest inland waterways in Europe; a myriad of mysterious islands and glistening waters. And all this plays host to a variety of wildlife, which makes it an important conservation area.
So, if you want to experience a slice of Irish stately home grandeur and romance, hop on an Easyjet flight to Dublin and spend a weekend at Crom.