Countryside retreat with room for staff in Limerick on the market for €955k
Linden Lodge and Little Kilpeacon Crecora, Co Limerick - €995,000
When Olive and Liam McCarthy built Linden Lodge in 2001, they intended it to be their home for life. After years of globe-trotting, with stints spent living in Asia and the US for Liam's work, they had set about an exhaustive search for a site on which they could build their dream home.
They wanted somewhere within easy reach of Limerick city and Shannon and Cork airports, close to the motorway for when they wanted to head up to Dublin. It needed to be somewhere accessible to Adare for golf, Thomond Park for rugby, and Limerick racecourse for horse-racing - as well as somewhere that their daughters could keep a pony and experience the Irish country childhood that they had both enjoyed.
Eventually, they heard that a small house - Little Kilpeacon - on nine acres was about to come on the market. Once the deal was done, they spent the next couple of years working with Limerick architect David Thompson to create their perfect house.
"We bought the land three years before we moved back to Ireland," says Olive. "We fell in love with it the first time that we saw it."
Little Kilpeacon was originally part of the Kilpeacon Estate, the property of Sir William King, from whom it passed to his grand-nephews, Richard and Edward Villiers.
The McCarthys lived in Little Kilpeacon for a year while the new main house, Linden Lodge, was being constructed.
"We could have put Linden Lodge anywhere on the site," says Olive.
"Our brief to David was to maximise the light and the views and together we agreed to position the house on a slightly elevated site a few hundred metres away from Little Kilpeacon. From Linden Lodge, the whole countryside opens up all around you - the views over the Kilpeacon estate and church are magnificent. The stone walls that surround the site were formerly part of the estate and it retains its old charm through the parkland setting and mature trees.
"We wanted an interesting house and you can see from the aerial photos that it has many different roofs at different angles. On the ground floor, we put in glass-panelled doors so that it would feel light and open. It was a work of love, we were delighted with how it turned out and our daughters had a wonderful time living here, playing hide and seek in the fields, riding their pony and messing around with the hay bales at harvest time."
It's funny how things work out, though, and after almost 30 years with Molex, a US electronics company, Liam was made president and chief operating officer in 2005.
The only snag was that the job was based in Chicago.
"We are selling with some regret," says Olive. "It's bitter sweet but the offer was too good to turn down. Chicago is our base now.
"We are both US citizens, our daughters are grown and Linden Lodge is too lovely a house to leave empty. We very much hope that another family will enjoy it as much as we have, although it would make a good base for someone living abroad too - and it's a great house for entertaining. Little Kilpeacon is perfect as a house, either for staff or for in-laws, and my mother-in-law lived there for a while."
The two houses on the property have separate entrances, accessed via electronic gates from the main road. Linden Lodge has 494sqm of living space over two floors.
On the ground floor, there is a dining room, living room, family room, garden room, open plan kitchen/dining room, powder room, games room, utility, and guest bedroom with en suite and its own patio. Upstairs, there are five bedrooms, two of which are en suite, and a main bathroom.
Outside, there is a single stable, tack room and concrete yard, with paddocks fenced in stud-rail and a tennis court. Little Kilpeacon, meanwhile, is a three/four-bed home with 122sqm of living space and its own stables with room for five horses.
The land was planted with oak, beech, lime and horse chestnut trees back in the 1800s and the McCarthys have also planted extensively to include oak, beech, lime, Spanish chestnut, maple, birch, copper beech, weeping ash and a laurel hedge that runs the full length of the boundary.
Olive McCarthy says that Crecora village is quaint and friendly, with a post office, shops and national school.
Linden Lodge was a lovely private retreat for the family, she says, and they will miss it dearly.
Joint agents: Sherry FitzGerald, Country Homes (01) 639 9300; Sherry FitzGerald, Limerick (061) 418 000
Viewing: Strictly by appointment