A private island in Ireland has sold for over £5m ($6.4m) to an European buyer who only saw a video of it before purchasing it, due to the travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Called Horse Island, the 157-acre island is located off the coast of Schull in West Cork.

The main house on Horse Island in Schull, Cork
There is a six-bedroom main house on the island © Montague Real Estate

Horse Island has a rich history, having been home to a thriving copper industry between 1820 and 1874. In 1841, the population of the island peaked at 137 people, most of whom were employed in the mines. By 1965, all the inhabitants had left, but some of the ruins of the old village and managers’ houses can still be found on the island.

It has a natural, rugged landscape, including three sandy beaches populated by seals, farming pastures and natural wildlife. The 4500 sq ft main house has six bedrooms, and there are two three-bedroom, two two-bedroom and two one-bedroom guest cottages. All of the properties have views over the Atlantic and Roaring Water Bay, where guests can swim and scuba dive among dolphins.

The living room in the main house on Horse Island in Schull, Cork
The interior of the main house on Horse Island © Montague Real Estate

There is a private pier for mooring ferries and private boats, a helipad, a games and gym house, a tennis court and a shipwreck play house. Entirely self-contained, the island also has its own electricity, water and sewage systems, as well as private roads providing access to all areas of the island. The purchase was made following months of negotiations during the coronavirus lockdown. It was facilitated by Mayfair-based real estate broker Montague Real Estate, with involvement from Knight Frank’s Private Office, Engel & Völkers and Colliers International.

A beach on Horse Island in Cork
There are three beaches islands on the island © Montague Real Estate

With restrictions on meetings and travel, negotiations were undertaken primarily over WhatsApp with the client, who does not speak English.

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

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