Private island

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 September, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 September, 2004, 12:00am

Aristotle Onassis, Richard Branson, John Wayne, Errol Flynn, Abba, the Disney family, Ted Turner, Bill Gates, Bjorn Borg ... and you? Forget yachts, business jets and Ferraris; the aforementioned luminaries own, or owned, the last word in status symbols: a private island. Skorpios, Greece, was Onassis' favoured retreat, Branson cools his heels on Necker in the Caribbean and the Gates' empire includes Sleepy Cove in Nova Scotia. In the same league is Horse Island, in the Gulf Stream off the southwest coast of the Republic of Ireland, and which could be yours if you have 7.5 million euros (HK$70.6 million) to spare.

For that investment you can expect 65 hectares of windswept wilderness, across which miniature horses once galloped freely; three houses hewn from stone (filled with Gunther Lambert furniture and equipped with Jacuzzis, saunas and fishing boats converted into beds); an independent electricity supply; drinking water; a 45-metre pier; a nine-hole golf course and a tennis court. An alternative night out awaits at the seashore, where the island's own stranded ship, secured by chains, has been converted into a hideout complete with bar.

The freshest mussels you are ever likely to eat will be those from your own rock-bound inlets, regular visitors to which include dolphins, otters, conger eels, salmon, sea trout and lobsters. Roam barefoot along private beaches and live out your Robinson Crusoe fantasies ... safe in the knowledge that the mainland harbour village of Schull is only 15 minutes away by boat. See www.premierproperties for more information.