A city heart in Kilcarty
Unique selling point: Meath farmhouse has a staircase from the centre of Dublin
Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett was better known by his aristocratic title, Lord Dunsany of Dunsany Castle. Of an old Norman family, he became a writer, poet and author of fantasy works. His friends included Ledwidge, Yeats, Gogarty and Kipling.
The eccentric, who wrote more than 70 fantasy novels, is acknowledged to be a founding father of the genre. He is said to have worked at an incredible speed, having written one of his most successful plays, "A Night At An Inn", "between early tea and dinner."
However modern his works, Dunsany remained intransigent about bringing modernity into his home. He refused to install electricity at the castle and eschewed typewriters, preferring to pen his works with hand-cut quills from local ducks.
He was a formidable outdoorsman, and into his shooting and hunting. His biographer details an interesting solution to reconnecting a doorbell rope pull: "The game keeping approach to domestic problems had scored a success when there were difficulties rewiring a bell through the thick walls. The wire was attached to a ferret, and a squealing rabbit held at the far end of the tunnel, and all was done in no time."
Dunsany died in the 1950s and much of his estate - run in a very traditional way, soon began to modernise. Close to the castle is Old Kilcarty, a neat Georgian house on five acres, which includes gardens and outbuildings.
The house dates from the 1770s and, as a large farmhouse, would have been a big part of local life in Dunsany's time.
It was fully updated in the early 1990s. While most of the original features remained intact, the then sympathetic restoration required the use of historically accurate salvaged fittings. Most interesting among these transplanted antique additionals is the solid pine staircase which came from a house in Dublin 1's Henrietta Street, once a pocket of the the grandest townhouses in the capital but, through the 19th Century to the early 20th Century, among the city's worst slums.
Old Kilcarty has sash windows framed by wood panelled shutters and the main receptions have delicately coved ceilings.
The house is approached through a stone walled and pillared entrance to the forecourt which is framed by a laurel hedge. The gardens are mainly to the rear of the house and are extensive lawn areas interspersed with mature specimen trees, flowerbeds and shrubbery.
The accommodation comprises a spacious hall, the substantial drawing room with bay window and French doors onto the terrace; the dining room and a traditional kitchen with a utility room and guest WC.
On the first floor the wide landing gives access to five bedrooms and the main bathroom. The property spans almost 2,700 sq ft - nearly twice the size of an average family home .
French doors lead from both the drawing room and the kitchen to a sheltered terrace with full vista of the gardens and the paddocks beyond. In addition, there is a large, well planted vegetable garden with raised asparagus bed and dividing pathways. On the north east side of the property is found the walled orchard with its varied fruit trees.
The other grounds extend to approximately three acres and are current laid out in grass paddocks with the addition of an overwintering turnout arena.
The range of two storey stone outbuildings includes three stables, a tack room, a large workshop/coach house, storeroom, all of which are lofted. The lofted area is excellent space running the full length of the building and ripe for further development if you wished (subject to necessary planning permission). It would make excellent secondary accommodation to be let, or could be turned to office use. There is also a two bay lean-to currently used as a car port and for storage.
Dunsany is less than a mile from Kilmessan and minutes from Navan, Trim and Dunshaughlin.
It is also close to attractions such as Killeen Castle and the Hill of Tara which is the ancient home of the High Kings of Ireland, and the world-famous megalithic burial tombs of Newgrange.
And for those who want to commute, the property is 40 minutes from Dublin City Centre and 30 minutes from the Airport. A train service is available from Dunboyne serving Dublin City hourly from early morning to late night, with the park and ride service a short 15 minute drive from property.
The golf enthusiast will find courses at the Royal Tara Golf Club, the famous Jack Nicklaus designed golf course at Killeen Castle, and Black Bush Golf Club near Fairyhouse.
There are a number of primary schools and play schools in the locality and secondary colleges are close at Navan, Trim and Dunshaughlin.
Savills is seeking offers in the order of €700,000 for the freehold.
Dunsany, Co Meath
Asking price: €700,000
Agent: Savills (01) 6634350