Sunday 23 October 2016

A not so run-of-the-mill Georgian manor house

Lickbla House, Castlepollard, Co Westmeath: €685,000

Words by Caroline Allen

Published 19/06/2016 | 02:30

The millstream outside Lickbla House.
The millstream outside Lickbla House.
The kitchen with the all-important Aga.

A mill house that was built c1800, Lickbla House in Castlepollard could continue its role as a family/summer home or be reinvented for a range of uses from a guesthouse to a distillery, subject to planning permission, according to selling agent David Rhatigan of Savills Country Homes. “It has all the capabilities of becoming something really special to someone,” he says.

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The setting — on mature grounds with a complex of outbuildings, arranged around courtyards and a former corn mill, on 21 acres — renders it no ordinary run-of-the-mill property.

Having bought it in 1998, the present owners renovated the main house which spans approximately 265 sqm. A single-storey extension had been added c1880. The recent work involved reroofing and replumbing most of the dwelling, the installation of central heating and a new Aga. A conservatory was also added.

It’s a large house with three reception rooms; a kitchen; four bedrooms, two en suite, and a main bathroom upstairs. An annex to the side with its own entrance is connected to the main house by the kitchen. This area has a reception room, currently used as a breakfast room; utility area; two bedrooms, and a bathroom.

The three expansive courtyards are a real feature of the property, all with characterful cut-stone former mill buildings which have their own entrance.

Most of the buildings have been renovated by the present owners, with roofing and flooring work done, making for an array of useful spaces that include garages; a studio; guest WC; workshops; cow sheds; stables; garden and fuel stores, and a boiler room. The middle building was capped at wall plate level, with the mill race running alongside.

Approached by a tree-lined drive which continues over the River Glora and leads to the front of the house, Lickbla is surrounded by lawns and mature trees. There is a partly walled orchard and dovecote, and another walled garden to the rear. The land is laid out around the house and in two separate fields.

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage describes Lickbla as a well proportioned small country house, which retains its early form, fabric and character. “The proximity of this appealing house to the remains of the large corn mill to the rear suggest that it may have been originally built by the owner of this mill,” it says, calling it “an important element of the architectural heritage of Westmeath”.

For those in search of a rural retreat with the possibility of combining it with an enterprise, Lickbla House’s peaceful setting should provide plenty of inspiration. “With the water running through the mill race, it gives a real tranquil feeling to anyone who visits it,” David Rhatigan of Savills says.

The current owners’ children have grown up, and with other properties close by, they are scaling back, according to Rhatigan. “Living in Lickbla, they never wanted to go out as there was so much going on around the house and land. They did a lot of barbecues, fishing and activities on the land. It was another world to them once they entered the grounds.”

Lickbla is now ready for the next phase of its development. “The present owners have done so much to it and now it is time for someone else to put their mark on it,” Rhatigan remarks. The two well laid out paddocks will interest hobby farmers, he adds.

Those keen to escape the grind of urban life will find a lot to like at Lickbla.

Era: c1800

Size: 265 sqm

Agent: Savills Country Homes (01) 663 4350

Viewing: By appointment

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