An Irish island is one of five contenders for a Star Wars-style retreat, a piece of paradise called the Principality of Islandia, a socially responsible, eco-friendly, and self-sustaining community owned by its 52+ investors

An island off West Cork, in the south-west of Ireland, could become the first crowdfunded private island in the world. Currently, it's one of five contenders for a Star Wars-style retreat.

The island in question is Mannion's island, in Dumanus Bay, inland from Sheep's Head, in the picturesque area of West Cork

A crowdfunding website, www.letsbuyanisland.com, has raised just over $99.7k (€90k) from 52 investors. Their target amount is $399k (€360). Their aim is to create a socially responsible, eco-friendly, and self-sustaining island property.

Sheeps Head, close to Dumanus Bay, in West Cork.

Sheeps Head, close to Dumanus Bay, in West Cork.

Dreams becoming a reality

According to their site Letsbuyanisland.com the concept to buy an island started as just a conversation between friends. 

The site states, "It evolved from wishful thinking into a serious — if ambitious — business plan.”

Now the company, IBG, is a Cayman Islands-registered corporation made up of its investors. The shareholders have visit prospective sites around the world and now Mannion's Island, in West Cork is among five possible contenders alongside Malaipo Island in the Philippines, Coffee Island in Belize, Panama Island in Panama, and Nangashanti Resort in Borneo.

Read more: This cottage for sale in West Cork has its own waterfall

Gareth Johnson, the CEO of IBG, says Mannion's Island is one of the investor's top picks. 

He told the Irish Examiner “The two favorites — and they could not be more different — are Coffee Island in Belize and Mannion’s Island. The funny thing is we weren’t looking at non-tropical until we went to Mannion’s Island in recent weeks and it is really, really nice and there is great value for the size. It is buzzing there during the summer.”

Dumanus Bay, home to Mannion's Island, in West Cork.

Dumanus Bay, home to Mannion's Island, in West Cork.

The site describes Mannion's Island as being "subtropical". The island is located in an estuary off of the Cork coast and, thankfully, Ireland does benefit from the warming effects of the Gulf Stream. 

The four-acre island, according to the site, "has never been inhabited and historically has been used for grazing sheep in the summer months." 

Cork Island for $166k 

Mannion's Island is currently on the books fo local Cork auctioneer Dominic Daly with a  guide price of $166k (€150k).

The site continues "It’s in a very sheltered bay in West Cork which is very much under the influence of the Gulf Stream so that’s where the subtropical comes from. It currently belongs to a Cork man.”

Currently, the price of buying a share in the island is $3,250 (€2,927). The organization aims to attract no more than 150 shareholders. Becoming a citizen costs $19.99 (€18) and the plan is to have 5,000 registered citizens.

The plan is to complete the purchase this year, or as soon as there are sufficient funds raised.

Star Wars comes to Cork

The new corporation has plans that Mannion Island could be used for glamping (glamorous camping) during the summer months and for meditation, fasting or prayer retreats during the winter months. 

As the site states, "Think Luke Skywalker on that rock, or the monks of Lindisfarne, that sort of thing.”

What do you think? Great idea for a holiday investment? Or a barmy notion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Read more: Ireland's most beautiful landscape - Beara, West Cork

Dumanus Bay, which is home to Mannion's Island, in West Cork.Getty