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
Published 13/04/2016 | 02:30
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.
Over the years the place has been farmed for crops with some cattle and always a few horses. Along with the cereals, the farm is currently home to a flock of 200 ewes and with the lambing season just about to conclude the owner is much relieved.
"It's been like Holles Street here for the last few months," he groans. Sure enough, the yard echoes to the sound of bleating lambs as the latest arrivals grow anxious to get free of their pens and indulge in a bit of decent gambolling.
The land sweeps down from the house to lower ground that is softer in places but is still giving up a fine crop of cereal.
The house is in a lovely setting and has many elegant Georgian features including high ceilings, decorative plasterwork and a fine, cantilevered main stairway.
While retaining its elegance, it continues to be a family home with accommodation that includes six spacious bedrooms, four bathrooms, three reception rooms, two offices, a kitchen and a lovely intimate lounge off the kitchen.
To the rear of the house is a lovely cut-stone courtyard surrounding a small green area. The buildings, typical of the early 19th century country house, are in relatively good condition complete with original stone and slate work while some have corrugated roofing.
The sheds are home to a series of storage spaces, an old cottage, a two-storey coach house and stables.
To the rear of this courtyard is the working farmyard with a five-bay cut stone lean-to, a five-bay cut stone barn, a four-bay haybarn with twin lean-tos, a two-bay barn, a grain silo and cattle handling facilities.
"The place is available in two lots," explains Thomas Potterton. "The house and yards on 100ac can be bought for €2.5m, while the entire, including the house and yards on 189ac is guided at €3.45m."
I promise John and Vivienne O'Connor if I win the lotto I'll be back.
The sale is jointly handled by REA TE Potterton, Trim and Ganly Walters.