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Friday 9 December 2016

In the pink - €4m for Wicklow equestrian property

€4 million is the asking price for an exceptional equestrian property on 175ac in Wicklow

Jim O'Brien

Published 27/01/2016 | 02:30

Myrtle Lodge is a substantial residence decorated to very high standards.
Myrtle Lodge is a substantial residence decorated to very high standards.
The news and courtyard at Myrtle Lodge
The equestrian facilities include an Alpine-style indoor arena.

I couldn't have chosen better weather to go and see Myrtle Lodge, an equestrian farm on 175ac beside Brittas Bay in Co Wicklow. The property, with its exceptional equestrian facilities, gorgeous house and two lodges looked at its best in the lovely January sunshine.

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Located within sight of Brittas Bay, Myrtle Lodge is 12km from Wicklow town and Arklow, 63km from Dublin and within 15 minutes of the N11/M11.

Making my way towards Myrtle Lodge, the silver waters of the Irish sea sparkled through the hedges on my left.

On arrival, Harriet Grant of selling agents Savills tells me to 'snoop around' while I wait. Taking her at her word I wandered around the lovely house.

The residence is indeed a lodge rather than a grand mansion. With one entrance close to the road and surrounded by gardens and shrubbery it is most unimposing and welcoming. Inside the main hall are three extremely pleasant interconnecting reception rooms.

To the left of the main hall is an intimate library with a marble fireplace and built-in shelving and doors leading to a sun room.

Upstairs are three spacious, light-filled comfortable bedrooms, all with ensuite facilities. The master bedroom has a large dressing room along with a full bathroom.

The house is in immaculate condition with wooden floors and nice rugs and carpets throughout and a lovely finish. While it needs a new kitchen and, I suspect will need insulation, it is a house I would love to own and live in.

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Ms Grant arrived and introduced me to Jim Kiely who showed me around. Jim looks after the affairs of the owner, a German man living in Switzerland.

"He is a perfectionist in all things," he tells me, "and you will see that as you go around." I assure him I have already seen plenty of evidence of attention to detail in the house.

Jim explains that the place was bought in 1996 and the owner spared nothing renovating and developing the place.

Our first stop is The Mews, a two-storey guest lodge in perfect condition. The accommodation includes a large living room with French doors leading to the yard a fitted kitchen with an Aga, an ensuite bedroom downstairs and a large bedroom and bathroom upstairs.

Courtyard

We move on to another beautiful cobbled courtyard, complete with a clock tower, that is home to 11 stables including foaling stables, a veterinary room, feed room, tack room, office and shower room.

Other accommodation on the estate includes a modern manager's house, which has five bedrooms. One ensuite room is downstairs, while three of the four upstairs have ensuite facilities.

The owner of Myrtle Lodge has a passion for breeding the Shagya Arabian horse, a breed developed in the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the 1800s.

His passion for the horse is obvious from the quality of the equestrian facilities. They are all laid out in the one area under the shelter of some fine trees.

A magnificent indoor sand arena built in Alpine style with timber imported from Germany stands out. Measuring 20x540m, the ground is covered in sand and woodchip, and the arena has double entry doors.

Other facilities alongside the arena include 14 stables, a feed room, tack room, rug room, two wash-down areas, toilet facilities, a staff canteen and a night room for staff watching foaling mares.

There is also an excellent, outdoor sand arena surrounded by trees.

Away from the equestrian facilities is a farmyard used for the sheep farm, which carried up to 300 head of stock.

The lands are divided between paddocks, grazing ground and forestry.

A tree plantation of 27ac was planted in 2007 and includes a mix of oak, larch, and pine delivering annual premiums of €2,038.

The land is in great order, well grazed and fenced with pristine hedging. One of the fields with a view of Brittas Bay has planning permission for a dwelling house.

Myrtle Lodge is one of the finest properties I have walked. It is in a beautiful part of the country, it has lovely dwelling space and some of the best equestrian facilities one is likely to find anywhere.

"The whole place is for sale and everything in it," says Jim, "lock stock and barrel. The owner has taken anything of sentimental value and the rest is there to be bought."

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