Saturday 10 December 2016

Centuries of design

Published 10/02/2012 | 05:00

Built in 1399 and renewed in 1650, 1754 and 1998, €2.5m Knockabbey Castle, Co Louth has showcase gardens and sits on 30 acres, writes Caitriona Murphy

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Set in the very heart of Co Louth, Knockabbey Castle is a stunning 11th century eight-bedroom castle set in beautiful showcase gardens and 30 acres of grounds.

Dating back to 1399, the castle was originally built for the Bellew family and known as Thomastown Castle.

It started out as a simple square tower house but was extended in 1650 with a six bay, three-storey Queen Anne extension and again remodelled by Thomas Tenison in 1754.

From the late 1700s, the O'Reilly family, whose ancestors included Niall of the Nine Hostages, owned the castle. The family renamed the property Knockabbey Castle.

Restored and renovated by the current owner in 1998, the castle is located 9km from Ardee, 4km from the pretty village of Tallanstown and 20km from Dundalk and Drogheda.

The castle is entered via the Tower House into an entrance hall with vaulted ceiling, stone flagged floor and wood burning stove. Off the entrance hall are the inner staircase hall, the Queen Anne hall and the stone spiral tower staircase.

The first and second floors of the tower house contain the Interpretative room and the Museum room, both with bathrooms off.

The Gothic part of the property features an impressive staircase hall with quarry-tiled floor, galleried staircase, and an ornate stained glass roof light.

The spacious kitchen features fitted kitchen units, a French oak floor, Aga cooker and Belfast sink.

The family room has an open stone fireplace, oak floor, corniced ceiling, double doors to the lawns outside and links into the dining room. Upstairs there are four large bedrooms, all of which are en suite.

The Queen Anne section of the house contains a staircase hall and drawing room with pitch pine columns and a white marble fireplace. Beyond the original 1860's kitchen is a bar/studio room and there are also ladies and gents toilets.

Moving upstairs, the first floor contains a billiards room, library area with panelled walls and the Thai bedroom. On the second floor, there are three further bedrooms and a main bathroom.

Outside, Knockabbey's water gardens were originally constructed in the 11th century by monks from the local abbey and have been reconstructed with the help of the Great Gardens of Ireland Restoration Fund.

The grounds also feature mature woodland walks, a Victorian-style glass house, magnificent specimen trees, a wildflower meadow, stone built Victorian teahouse and fern house and an octagonal gazebo.

Knockabbey's courtyard has also been fully restored and now houses an audiovisual room and a tack room at ground level and a one-bedroom apartment on the first floor.

There is a second courtyard to the rear with further two-storey stone buildings in need of renovation.

A utility yard, hidden away off the main avenue, contains a modern six-span barn and a new car park with space for buses and cars.

Mid-way up the avenue, a newly constructed lodge features a large open plan kitchen living room with two bedrooms and a bathroom. It has its own private rear garden.

Enquiries to Knight Frank on 01 6623255 or Hassett & Fitzsimons on 01 6773591.

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