Farm Ireland

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Grand living in 'Obama country'

Thornvale House is a country property with tremendous potential

Jim O'Brien

Published 27/04/2016 | 02:30

Thornvale House on 21ac is located on the Offaly-Tipperary border, close to Moneygall where President Barack Obama has some roots.
Thornvale House on 21ac is located on the Offaly-Tipperary border, close to Moneygall where President Barack Obama has some roots.
The elegant entrance avenue to Thornvale House.
Walled garden at Thornvale House is in perfect condition.

Captain George Garvey must certainly have been tired of the sea when he chose Offaly as his abode in the early 1800s after retiring from the Royal navy.

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The doughty captain picked one of the most inland counties in the country to rest his sea legs when he took up residence at Thornvale House near Moneygall on the Offaly/Tipperary border.

His father-in-law resided at the nearby Loughton House, now the palatial home of the acting Minister for Children, James Reilly.

Thornvale is an extensive property centred around a fine house that is currently a family home and big enough to be a small hotel. The holding, set on 21ac, is on the market by private treaty with Savills who are guiding a price of €1.5m.

Located 4km from President Obama's ancestral home village of Moneygall the property is 3.7km from Toomevara on the N7.

The house is approached through an unassuming if non-descript entrance however, after that one has to reach for the superlatives.

The shared tree-lined avenue neatly lined by post and rail fencing is as symmetrical as man and nature working together can make it.

The house itself is approached by a shorter avenue through wrought iron gates. There are some lovely stands of old trees around the house which has great views to Keeper Hill and the Devil's Bit from the front lawn.

A porch leads to a lovely, spacious entrance hall with a drawing room to one side and a dining room at the other. The drawing room is obviously 'the good room' and its bay window gives it an airy, lightsome feel.

Across the hallway is the dining room, the essence of elegance with its crafted sideboard and its long dining table with space for 14 guests. Other accommodation on the ground floor includes a TV room with bay windows adjoining a smaller room set up as a prayer room.

Across the corridor is the large kitchen with a huge kitchen table, an AGA and fitted units.


This room is obviously the heart of the house where the family spends a lot of time. Just up the corridor is an informal and welcoming family room. The floor is also home to a utility, a store, laundry room and two guest WCs.

The main stairs is a beautiful wooden structure with some fine detail. It leads to what appears to be a minstrel gallery on the first floor but is in fact a library space with mahogany bookshelves and wall-to-wall books.

There are six bedrooms, three of which are the picture of fine living with windows overlooking the gardens and four-poster beds. The master bedroom is ensuite and comes with a 'sewing room', large enough to be the master bedroom in any regular house.

The building is in fine condition with marvellous ornate plasterwork and marble fireplaces. Attached to the house is the ultimate 'granny flat', a two-storey apartment with kitchen, living room and three bedrooms.

To the rear of the house is a small gravelled courtyard where the original buildings have been converted into spaces including a tack room and a billiard room.

A second courtyard approached through stone gate pillars has another myriad of buildings and rooms including one used as a gym. There is also a schoolhouse with seven rooms, a space used for teaching up to recently.

Outbuildings include a five-column haybarn, a workshop, garages and three stables.

The walled garden is surrounded by the original drystone wall in perfect condition. The space is divided into a small grass paddock and a busy garden area with a poly-tunnel and greenhouse.

The grounds are a mix of landscaping and wilder spaces while the 21ac of land is in a number of paddocks and old woodland.

All in all, Thornvale has tremendous potential as a private dwelling, as a boutique hotel or as an exclusive corporate retreat centre.

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