One of the most historic and grand stately homes in Northern Ireland - the 1,000 acre Drenagh Estate in Limavady- is up for sale
The current harsh economic climate has forced Drenagh Farms Limited into administration, a spokesperson for FRP Advisory, the restructuring and advisory firm, has confirmed.
Its partners Jason Baker and Geoff Rowley have been appointed joint administrators. The Estate was formerly owned by the McCausland family and formerly managed by Conolly McCausland.
The house and ground are currently hired out for conferences and, weddings. The Estate employs six members of staff.
A spokesperson for FRP Advisory said: “After generations of successful management, first as a family stately home, and in more recent times as a stately home complete with profitable leisure pursuits business, recent tougher economic times in the wider leisure market has put unsustainable pressure on the cash-flow of Drenagh Farms under its current financial structure.
“The appointment of joint administrators at FRP Advisory provides the Estate with the cushion needed to allow the business to continue to operate as normal while it is marketed for sale. The joint administrators have retained all the staff employed by the Estate to ensure it continues to serve the customers associated with Drenagh Farms, while continuing to manage Drenagh Farms as a going concern, and while seeking new owners to ensure a long term solution to the business and house. The existing tenancies remain unaffected by the administration.”
Jason Baker, joint administrator at FRP Advisory, said: “Drenagh Farms is a fine stately home and working estate steeped in the history of Northern Ireland. The administration process provides a cushion for the Estate to run as normal while a potential new ownership structure can be established to ensure a long term solution can be found for this historic house and associated leisure pursuits business.
“The Estate will continue to run as normal through the administration process and the number of bookings which Drenagh Farms continues to make is a testament to the popularity of the house, its grounds and to its loyal, professional and courteous staff.”
Drenagh is a Grade 1 listed building set among more than 1000 acres of land, in the shadow of the great cliffs of Binevenagh Mountain and the Mussenden Temple.
The present house was designed by Charles Lanyon and was the architect’s first major commission. It was completed in 1835 and has been the home of the McCausland family since. There are terraced gardens in the Italian style, an arboretum, and a fountain inspired by one at the Villa d’Este, near Rome. Lady Margaret McCausland, daughter of Earl Mount Edgecombe, embellished the botanical beauty of its park with a pink and blue English garden and an all white moon garden.
Drenagh Farms has been occupied by succeeding generations of the same family since the late 1700s. The house which stands today was commissioned by Marcus McCausland, the seventeenth generation of the family of the same name, in 1835. The Estate’s former house, Fruithill, appears in a painting of Robert McCausland, the first generation to live at Drenagh, which hangs in the current dining room. The Estate was one of the few similar sized estates to survive the Irish Lands Act when in 1902 the three quarters of its land was purchased by the then government in Westminster under the Irish Lands Act while many other estates saw all of their land compulsorily purchased.