Monday 26 September 2016

A midlands classic - Georgian-style mansion for under €1m

This striking mansion and 88ac of mainly forestry land is on the market in Westmeath for less than a million

Jim O'Brien

Published 02/03/2016 | 02:30

Kildevin House was built in 1833 and bought by the current owners in 1998.
Kildevin House was built in 1833 and bought by the current owners in 1998.
The land is split between 25ac of grass and 63ac of forestry and parkland.
The restored ante room in the main residence.
The property has been fully restored by the owners since they bought it in 1998.

Kildevin house is a fully restored Georgian-style mansion on 88ac near Streete in Co Westmeath. The land is in a mixture of grazing and forestry and the entire comes to market with a guide price of €950,000.

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Located in its own townland of Ballykildevin the property is 2km from Streete, 25km from Mullingar, 27km from Longford and just over an hour from Dublin.

While technically built in the early Victorian era it has all the feel of a Georgian pile.

The place is steeped in history and was once home to Meredith Merry Johnston who played rugby for Ireland between 1877 and 1884 and captained the team to its first international rugby win.

Meredith's wife Edith Mary Jane Wise was a first cousin of William B Yeats and according to Celia Lamb of selling agents Ganley Walters there is reason to believe that the great poet himself visited the house on more than one occasion.

Prior to this the occupants of Kildevin were more notorious than salubrious. The Sproule family built the house in 1833 and one Robert Sproule was known as "an authoritarian figure of much local notoriety' who emigrated to Australian 'under duress' in 1847. No one knows what happened him in the then penal colony but his death notice was found in Adelaide as recently as 2013.

From 1916 the place changed hands a few times and when bought by its current owners in 1998 it was in a state of considerable disrepair.

Sensitivity

The new owners undertook a huge project to bring the place back to its former glory. According to Ms Lamb it was restored with great sensitivity and an attention to detail that ensured the integrity of the house.

The residence is approached through a tree lined avenue passing through its own parkland and leading to a broad gravel forecourt. A three-bay, two-storey, over basement structure the building has a projecting, three story semi circular bow to the centre and front of the façade.

The house proper is entered via a flight of stone steps with balustrade parapets on either side. A unique oval hall leads to the main reception rooms that include a drawing room, morning room and study. There is also an office, dining room, seven bedrooms, four bathrooms and a cellar. The kitchen is located on the lower ground floor with a sitting room and three of the bedrooms, a bathroom and a jail cell. No need for a doghouse!

Four of the bedrooms are located upstairs along with two bathrooms. The original features of the house are still intact with cornices, ornate plasterwork and sash windows.

There is an extensive cut-stone courtyard to the rear of the residence where the roofs of the buildings have been restored but much work needs to be done internally. Some of the original stables are intact complete with mangers and cobbled floors.

The lands are all in one block and surround the house. Extending to 88ac a portion of 25ac is in grass while the rest is in forestry and parkland. The forestry was planted in 2002 and its 70,000 trees include beech, red oak, oak, sycamore and ash and the plantation is subject to premiums for the next six years.

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