Page last updated at 06:23 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 07:23 UK

Stately home on market for 10m

Mourne Park House
Mourne Park House is on the market for 10m

One of Northern Ireland's grandest homes has gone on the housing market, with an asking price of 10m.

Mourne Park House in Kilkeel, County Down, is the ancestral seat of the earls of Kilmorey.

The sale of the property includes some 160 acres, two gate lodges and a pair of cottages.

The grounds include parklands, a lake, stables, an old laundry building, kitchen garden and fishing on the River Whitewater.

Mourne Park has housed generations of Kilmorey earls and has been a playground for the aristocracy as well as a planning base for the Normandy landings in WWII.

In recent years, the estate has had an amount of notoriety following a bitter family fall out.

The estate was divided with Marion Needham Russell inheriting the house, outbuildings and some 160 acres.

In 2002 she served a week in Maghaberry Prison for contempt of court.

She had refused to reveal the whereabouts of antiques and paintings worth 250,000 she had taken from Mourne Park in a dispute with her brother and sister over the ownership of the heirlooms.

Since then, she and her husband have refurbished the once-dilapidated property.

Marion Russell told the Irish Times selling was a wrench, but the right thing to do.

"There's a really exciting future for Mourne Park but it's not for me to do, not any longer," she said.

"We've already put so much of ourselves into the house. It's slap in the middle of the Mourne Mountains, could be developed without destroying the curtilage of the place, and the area all around is about to become a national park."

The house is being sold through Knight Frank.

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