Saturday 3 December 2016

A property with prospects

Published 19/03/2010 | 05:00

Ann Maria Dunne is pictured in the sun room at The Rectory in Donard, Co Wicklow.
Ann Maria Dunne is pictured in the sun room at The Rectory in Donard, Co Wicklow.

"I was already living in Donard and at that time I was thinking of starting a hermitage by my cottage up in the mountains" Ann Maria told propertyplus.

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"I had even gone so far as to get planning permission.

"I knew Canon Styles, the last minister to live in the house. When he died and his wife moved out, it was vacant for over a year as they didn't appoint a minister for a while.

"I remember one day walking around and thinking it would make a beautiful retreat centre. It is very secluded and, being a Rectory for so long, there would have been a history of prayer and meditation in the house.

"In terms of energy, the grounds were very beautiful, although they were a bit overgrown back then. It was a very tranquil place and I was really very much drawn to it.

"When the new minister was appointed he and his wife looked at the house and decided that they couldn't live in it -- it was in quite bad repair, and it went on the market. I was fortunate to get it at auction."

Developing the Chrysalis Centre of the house and 2.8 acres was the fulfilment of a lifelong dream for Ann Maria.

After renovating the main house and the coach house behind it, Ann Maria built a further four buildings: a timber Scandinavian chalet (112sqm) with four bedrooms with adjacent shower rooms and a converted attic with toilet; and three stone octagonal-shaped retreat hermitage cottages.

The largest of these is the Hermitage Nirvana (91sqm), which has an extra bedroom (one en suite with jacuzzi) and a larger open-plan reception room including a kitchen.

The other two cottages, measuring 46sqm apiece, have one double bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom.

She converted the 120sqm, two-storey coach house to contain a staff apartment, office, laundry, treatment rooms, sauna, freezer store and a craft shop.

The apartment comprises a living room, kitchenette, shower room and bedroom.

The main house (465sqm) has six bedrooms, five with wash-hand basin and three bathrooms on the first floor. Downstairs, there are three reception rooms, a large sunroom and a large kitchen with separate pantry, scullery and utility room and bathroom.

The grounds consist of a vegetable plot, a sanctuary area, a meditation Zen garden and a labyrinth.

Ann Maria is ready for change in her life, and plans to spend more time in Brazil, where she has a home.

The property could be adapted for use as a family business like a cookery or art school or could even be re-converted into a family home.

"I really feel that I was a steward for this place and that somewhere there is a group of people or a person who has an idea and when they see Donard Rectory it will match their idea" says Ann Maria.

"It won't suit everybody, but for someone, this will be the perfect match."

The Rectory is asking €985,000 Savills (01 6623255) and JP&M Doyle (01 4903201) are joint agents

Irish Independent

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