Trim and proper at 19th century Georgian residence
Tullyard House in Co Meath is one of the finest country properties to come on the market for some time
Neat post and rail fences line the avenue and as we round a corner Tullyard House - an early 19th century Georgian residence set among mature trees - comes into view like something straight out of a Bronte sisters' novel.
I'm glad I chose to travel with auctioneer Thomas Potterton; his more up-market chariot is somewhat better suited to the surroundings than my ageing banger. Every place looks lovely in spring but Tullyard with its pale yellow exterior and fine stands of trees looks particularly good. The house on 189ac of tillage ground near Trim in Co Meath is for sale by private treaty with a guide price of €3.5m.
John and Vivienne O'Connor bought the property in 1976 and farmed it as a tillage farm since. "We love the place, but now it is time to downsize and take life easier," John says as we sit at the big old kitchen table in front of the four-door AGA.
The house was built in 1808 by John Pratt Winter, a barrister, magistrate and High Sheriff of Meath and may have been designed by the famous Sir Richard Morrison.
The estate stayed in the Winter Purdon family before it was acquired by the Land Commission in 1928. It subsequently came into the possession of Galway man, Henry J Kirwan who sold it to a German buyer, Hermann Bauer.
Tullyard - Tulach Árd in Irish meaning 'high hill' - lives up to its name as the house and yards are set on elevated ground at the centre of the 189ac farm with views over the entire land.
The land is the finest of Meath ground and is currently home to a generous crop of winter cereal that is greening beautifully.
When John O'Connor bought the place in 1976, it was laid out in a series of small fields and paddocks. Following the advice of the time he took out the hedges and knocked the land into an extensive tillage holding with large fields.