Mosley’s Irish home for sale

The 12-acre postwar home of Sir Oswald and Lady Mosley has been put on the market by its present owners.

Ileclash is close to Fermoy, Co Cork. It was the second Irish property that the Mosleys owned, having first purchased Clonfert Palace, a 17th century house in East Galway, in 1951.

Lady Mosley’s sister and brother-in-law had already moved to Ireland, and by 1951 it had become clear for various reasons that Mosley’s postwar political revival was running out of steam. A second Mosley revival began at the end of the ’50s, but for the rest of his life (from 1951 to 1980) he and Diana lived in Ireland or France, with occasional visits to London.

Clonfert was severely damaged in a fire at the end of 1953, and at the start of 1955 Mosley bought Ileclash, a 19th century mansion near the River Blackwater, 25 miles north of Cork. It became the Mosleys’ summer home for several years.

Several controversial European political figures settled in Ireland after the war, though recently released Irish government documents show that (despite having remained neutral during the Second World War and having maintained diplomatic relations throughout with National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy) Ireland’s prime minister Eamon de Valera discouraged prominent national socialist immigrants.

In October 1945 and April 1946 de Valera twice rejected applications by dissident, anti-Hitler national socialist Otto Strasser to take up Irish residency, writing “in present circumstances, it is not possible to accede to your request”. Similar rejection letters were sent to Léon Degrelle, former leader of the Belgian national socialist Rexist Party, who had led an SS Division on the Eastern Front.

Degrelle later settled in Spain, while after a decade in Canadian exile, Otto Strasser eventually returned to Germany.

As British citizens, the Mosleys could not be denied the right of residence in Ireland.

Ileclash is being marketed by Colliers International for €2.75m. The agents describe the property as “one of Ireland’s finest country houses”.

Unlike the vast majority of British nationalist leaders, Sir Oswald Mosley always had significant support among Irishmen, reflected in this postwar Union Movement pamphlet.

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