A private island off the coast of Ireland boasting three beaches, seven houses and natural wildlife has been sold for more than $6.3 million – with the anonymous buyer not even visiting the location in person before going through with the purchase.
Horse Island, a 157-acre spot of land to the southwest of the Irish mainland, was sold after negotiations that mostly took place over WhatsApp.
The unnamed European buyer saw it only over video before buying it, becoming the latest in a number of super-rich people who have sought out private islands during the coronavirus pandemic.
The island offers rugged green landscapes, a main house and several guest cottages overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
It was home to a small copper industry during the 19th century, with mines dotted around the island. Its population peaked at 137 people in 1841 but by the 1960s all of its inhabitants had left, according to real estate agents Montague Real Estate.
It now offers a private pier for ferries and boats, a helipad, a games house and gym, a tennis court and a “shipwreck play house.”
The self-contained destination also has its own electricity, water and sewage systems, and private roads that traverse the island.
The main house has 4,500 square feet of floor area and six bedrooms, while smaller guest houses are a short amble away.
“Horse Island is a unique trophy asset; sourcing the land and getting the sale over the line during Covid-19 has been a challenge, so naturally we are delighted with this result,” Thomas Balashev, the founder and CEO of Montague Real Estate, said in a statement.
Agents have been increasingly forced to rely on virtual viewings during the pandemic, but few sales have been as elaborate as this one.
“It highlights a trend that is becoming more apparent as the impact of Covid-19 is felt and people look to purchase property or land in remote locations,” added Alex Robinson of real estate agent Knight Frank, which was involved in the sale.
While nearly all leisure travel was paused because of the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for private islands has risen.
Brokers and travel industry experts have said that since March, prospective buyers and renters around the world are showing an increased interest in escaping to an island exclusively for them.