Buyer sought for 10-acre private island in lough

Staff Island, Knockninny Quay, Upper Lough Erne
Staff Island, Knockninny Quay, Upper Lough Erne

It may not boast swaying palms or tropical sunshine, but for a cost of £125,000 this private island could be all yours.

Called Staff Island, the roughly 10-acre triangular slice of land in the middle of Upper Lough Erne in Fermanagh is now up for sale.

No serious construction work is permitted, said Walter McFarland, who is handling the sale, although an owner may be able to build a log cabin if they wished and could apply to build a jetty.

Some islands in the lough are used for grazing and a buyer could potentially farm Staff Island too, but this would require clearing the land first, involving heavy machinery.

He suggested that its main appeal could simply be as a weekend retreat for a well-heeled boat-owner.

“The last time we had an island for sale was eight years ago – and then 10 before that,” he said.

In the four decades his firm has been doing business, he said only between five and 10 such islands had been sold.

“They’re either bought, generally, by a public body or somebody who wants a private base to come up to with their own boat, barbecue, wander through the woods and so on”.

He said private buyers just enjoy them as a weekend “hideaway” from the bustle of the city, where they can “let the children loose”.

He has suggested that the RSPB may wish to look into purchasing it, and that they also have a list of potential buyers who had previously asked to be notified if an island came on the market.

Given the asking price, he was asked if the island – and its smaller cousin Crehan, which is also for sale – were likely to be snapped up by wealthy Americans.

“Not necessarily,” he said.

“The last island we sold was to somebody from Russia – but he was a native of Northern Ireland who happened to work in Russia.”

As a general rule, Americans do not tend to buy them, and he believes it is more likely to go to a purchaser from the east of the Province who enjoys boating in the area, or someone who made their fortune in England and wants to own part of their native Ulster.

The rare piece of property, alongside the five-acre Crehan Island, both sit between 500 and 650 feet out from the shore.

He said: “They just don’t come on the market very often. People tend to hold onto them for generations and generations, and pass them on.”

Staff Island is owned by a landed estate, and Crehan by some local private owners.

The latter has a price tag of around £70,000.

Crehan has been on sale since spring, but Staff Island only went on the market in the last few weeks.

To find out more, contact Eadie, McFarland and Co: