What can €20 million buy you in Co Laois? Considering the average property in the midlands county goes for €208,748, a purchaser could do a deal for 96 regular homes.
Or, if you are the billionaire cofounder of a global technology empire, you may prefer the large 18th-century estate and former ancestral home of the de Vesci family.
Stripe’s John Collison has paid some €20 million to acquire Abbey Leix, which is considered to be one of the finest 18th-century mansions in Ireland. The Georgian house is surrounded by 1,120 acres, including stands of specimen trees, walled gardens and farmland.
The main residence, which extends to 26,910sq ft (2,500sq m), is complemented by no fewer than 10 estate houses and cottages. Within the main home is a classical library, a conservatory, a music room and an aptly named Gold Room.
The property was brought to the market two years ago by joint agents Sotheby’s International Realty and Colliers seeking €20 million and is understood to have achieved in the region of that figure.
A source close to Mr Collison told Laois Today the entrepreneur intends to live in the property for parts of the year and to develop it for personal use. The source told the local news outlet that Mr Collison is “looking forward to getting to know the Abbeyleix community”. “He’ll be down at the local pub, in the butchers and doing all the things that normal people do.”
The historic home was attractive to Mr Collison as he aspires to mind the property and regenerate the historic woodland, the source added. “He wants to nurture the wildlife because both him and Patrick care deeply about the environment,” the source said.
“There aren’t many historic houses in Ireland, and very few people have the ability to repair and maintain them . . . these houses have lives far beyond their owners, and John wants to set it up for future generations too.”
Prior to Mr Collison’s purchase, the estate had been in the ownership of Sir David Davies, a businessman whose family put down roots in Ireland in the 1940s and who has had a successful career in banking and property.
Having reached his 80th birthday in 2019, and having finally become an Irish citizen, Mr Davies put Abbey Leix on the market with a view to downsizing to his family’s original Irish home, Killoughter in Co Wicklow, a Georgian house on a more manageable scale.
In a statement issued through Sotheby’s International Realty and Colliers, Mr Davies said he was pleased to confirm his trust has contracted to sell the Abbey Leix Estate and the majority of its contents to a private buyer.
The statement said “the selection of the buyer was made because of their ambition and interest in preserving the integrity of the estate, including buildings and importantly the trees, and their ability to invest in the estate”.
Mr Davies said he was delighted the future of the estate had been secured for the long term.
While Abbey Leix will require substantial investment over time, its new owner will have the benefit of the significant restoration and refurbishment presided over by its former owner.
Designed in 1773 by the noted architect James Wyatt, and home to the de Vesci family for over 300 years, the property was showing its age by the time Mr Davies acquired it in 1995. It had no central heating and needed to be completely rewired, according to an interview Mr Davies gave to the Leinster Express in 2017. It took, he said, four years to renovate, with all of the house’s 117 windows having to be replaced.
The restoration of the house has been documented in a book by historian William Laffan that was published by Mr Davies, who is president of the Irish Georgian Society.
“As few places elsewhere, Abbey Leix gives a sense of the longue durée of Irish history. Having been home to French Monks, O’More Princes, Ormonde Earls, de Vesci Viscounts, and a Welsh Knight, the house, its park and woods form a microcosm of our past,” Mr Laffan wrote.
Sotheby’s too described the property in reverential terms when offering it to the market in 2019. Commenting on the estate’s importance, they said: “Abbey Leix is one of the most venerable 18th-century houses in Ireland and, following a spectacular restoration, it is also one of the most congenial. In any list of important Irish country houses Abbey Leix has a prominent place.”
While the grounds of the estate are impressive and include some of Ireland’s most notable remaining ancient woodland and extensive frontage to the River Nore, the house itself is an imposing three-storey classical mansion of seven bays, with the three central bays under a triangular pediment. Inside, the property has numerous features of note, including a music room that retains the decorative plasterwork for which Wyatt was so admired.
Abbey Leix owes its origins to religious settlement, and specifically to the French Cistercian monks who came to Ireland in the mid-12th-century. The present demesne evolved out of the monastery’s granges, woods and fields. One tree, the oldest oak in Ireland, still survives from this period.
The property also includes farmland and a stud farm featuring a range of cut-stone outbuildings and a principal yard, complete with a clock tower fashioned out of local limestone and dating from 1822.
John Collison is, along with his brother Patrick, one of Ireland’s richest people. As the cofounders and principals of the online payments platform, the Castletroy natives were earlier this year estimated to be worth $11.5 billion (€9.65 billion) each following their company’s latest fundraise, according to Bloomberg.
Its billionaires index, a ranking of the wealthiest men and women in the world, puts them among the richest self-made millennial billionaires.
The brothers, who are aged 32 and 30, were previously valued at $4.3 billion each, according to the index. Forbes magazine had more conservatively estimated their worth to be $2.3 billion prior to their company’s latest fundraise.
In March, Stripe raised a further $600 million, giving it a market valuation of $95 billion. This makes Stripe the most valuable company in Silicon Valley and among the most valuable globally.
Tungsten Properties have signed a transformative €296m (£250m) JV funding agreement with BC Partners. The newly formed joint venture company will target single and multi-let industrial opportunities across the UK, which will range from last-mile to big box logistics warehouses with a GDV of greater than €29.6m (£25m). Tungsten Properties will act as asset and development manager for the joint venture. With a strong conviction in the underlying occupational fundamentals of the industrial warehousing sector, the joint venture has already identified a strong pipeline to initially seed the partnership.
Jeff Penman, managing director, Tungsten Properties said:“This is a significant step in Tungsten’s expansion strategy to continue to deliver industrial and warehouse space to create growth, jobs and investor returns. This transformational JV agreement with BC Partners will provide reliable capital to continue delivering strategically located, environmentally friendly buildings across the UK. While there is volatility in the capital markets, both Tungsten and BC Partners believe that the industrial market’s long-term fundamentals remain strong. With a fighting fund behind us, we look forward to securing further opportunities.”
Laurian Douin, partner, BC Partners said: “The UK industrial and warehouse sector has strong secular fundamentals. Given Tungsten’s strong track record and like-minded approach to development, we are thrilled to partner with them to jointly invest in this asset class. The joint venture intends to deliver well-located, exceptional schemes to meet occupier demand, with a particular focus on schemes’ environmental credentials in-line with BC Partners Real Estate’s commitment to ESG.”
Owning a property with a swimming pool might seem like one of life’s luxuries that is reserved for millionaires.
But, as our pick of homes for sale with swimming pools proves, you don’t have to have a multi-million pound property to have one.
That said, you may still need deep pockets for their upkeep, which can be costly, particularly if you want to keep your swimming pool heated to a comfortable temperature.
While water shortages and hosepipe bans are hitting the headlines, a pool that is already filled with water will not draw on resources but may be forbidden from being topped up by hosepipe in the case of a ban.
Our pick of four properties for sale with swimming pools are for various budgets, ranging from £1.1million to £190,000 (scroll down for more information about the house pictured)
Here, we take a look at four swimming pools at properties for those with a range of different budgets.
At the top end is a six-bedroom house in Ramsgate, Kent. with an acre of land that includes an outdoor swimming pool. It has a price tag of £1.1million.
At the other end is three-bedroom property in Ashington, Northumberland, with an empty indoor swimming pool and an asking price of only £190,000.
Daniel Copley, of Zoopla, said: ‘With Britain currently experiencing a heatwave, it’s no surprise that homes with swimming pools are proving to be increasingly popular.
‘Whether your budget is more in the deep or shallow end, some homes with pools may be more affordable than you think.
‘While the rise in energy bills will have a very real impact on those wanting to heat a pool, at this time of year a refreshing dip may be just what’s needed.’
Four properties with swimming pools…
1. Six-bed house, Ramsgate, £1.1m
The most expensive house in our list of properties with swimming pools is this £1.1million home in Ramsgate, Kent, which is being sold by Miles & Barr estate agents
The property is called Pond Cottage and it boasts a large outdoor swimming pool that has a curved slide at the side
Inside the property, the entertainment facilities continue – with a cinema room that has black chairs and a red carpet
Harworth Group plc has completed the sale of an eight-acre land parcel at Woodville, Derbyshire to Barwood Homes for the delivery of 73 new houses. This represents Harworth’s first transaction with the Northampton-based housebuilder. The land parcel forms part of a 53-acre regeneration site which is owned by Beepart Ltd, part of Dyson Group, the Sheffield-based former manufacturer of industrial materials. Harworth is promoting the site on its behalf through a Planning Promotion Agreement. In April 2022, South Derbyshire District Council granted outline consent for the creation of up to 300 homes on the site, in addition to a c.30,000ft² local center with convenience retail and leisure amenities and over 150,000ft² of employment space for a range of uses.
The wider site has been unlocked by the delivery of Derbyshire County Council’s Woodville to Swadlincote Regeneration Route, which opened to traffic in December 2021, providing better access to Swadlincote and traffic relief in Woodville, as well as improved connectivity across the site. Preparation works will commence shortly for the next phases of residential and employment land sales at the development.
Ed Catchpole, Regional Director for Yorkshire & Central at Harworth, commented: “This sale is a fantastic start to the development at Woodville and we are pleased to welcome Barwood Homes to the site, who will deliver high-quality new housing for the local community. Our focus is now on bringing forward the rest of the development, utilising our extensive experience in the remediation of complex sites, including earthworks and infrastructure, to ready the remaining residential and employment land.”
Luke Simmons, Managing Director of Barwood Homes, added: “We are delighted to be working alongside Harworth on this exciting development. The team is looking forward to engaging with the local community as we gear up to deliver a scheme of excellent quality in design, build and service.”
Gavin Rosson, Managing Director of Dyson Group, added: “This first sale of a residential portion of the site is an important step in unlocking the full development potential of the whole, something we have been trying to achieve for many years. Such development will help regenerate Woodville and the surrounding area, somewhere we have had a presence since 1967 and are delighted to participate in.”