Joe Donovan, a New York firefighter who was on duty on September 11th, has put a 300-year-old manor house which he loved on the market for €1.3m.

Donovan came across the historic property in Ballymahon, Co. Longford, on the banks of the River Inny, in the late 1990s while visiting his wife Suzanne’s family.

“I was trying to cash in on the Celtic Tiger”, said Donovan. He never intended to live in the 17-bedroom Newcastle House. His plan was to apply for planning permission for a big hotel and sell it on for a profit.

However the events of September 11th changed his perspective. “The day the plans (for the hotel) were submitted for planning was September 11th, 2011.”

The firefighter was fighting at a blaze at the north tower that day when it came down.

“I was lucky I was outside when the tower came down. I have three young children so that pretty much entirely changed my perspective about where I wanted to be,” he told the Irish Independent.

Soon after, another life changing event for Joe, when doctors told him he had tumours on his lungs.  He was forced to retire at the age of 40.

He spent over four years restoring his property to its best. During this time the tumours disappeared.

Donovan has said that the property is being sold at a considerable loss. The family are ready to move back to New York.

FDNY hero at Ground ZeroPeter Foley