Courtyard mansion rebuilt after historic fire on the market in Kildare for €1.45m
Courtyard mansion rises from a burned estate house
Just before noon on February 24, 1923, a truck containing eight armed men - four in the uniform of the Free State Army and one in the attire of the civic guards - passed through the gates of the Mullaboden Estate at Ballymore Eustace in Kildare. At Mullaboden House, they ordered eight household servants to leave the building, piled up furniture in the centre of the rooms and doused it all with petrol.
From the estate house, they removed the owners' British military uniform - which one of the men put on - and a gramophone which was brought outside, cranked up and a record put on. Witnesses reported it played "a merry accompaniment to the crackling flames" as the men reboarded and drove off, leaving the house to burn.
This was the main residence of Lieutenant General Sir Bryan Mahon who had been placed in charge of the British army in Ireland in the aftermath of the Rising. By early 1923, the Civil War was in its dying days and a floundering IRA launched attacks on the homes of senators and Anglo Irish families.
General Sir Mahon, a senator, was likely a lucky man not to have been at home - not just because of the position he held from 1916; but for his record in the Great War, having approved executions at dawn for dubious reasons.
Among those sanctioned was that of 19-year-old Limerick born Patrick Downey, executed for not putting on his cap when ordered. Witnesses said Downey had been subjected to "field punishment number 1" - hours tied to a wagon wheel in an outstretched position - and argued that he was unlikely to have been physically able to raise his arms.
Mahon sanctioned the execution as a message to disorderly soldiers, stating "an exemplary punishment [is] highly desirable". Ironically, Mahon himself had deserted his position against the Turks at Sulva Bay when he walked off the field in a fit of pique after learning he had failed to win a promotion.
Despite the burning of his home, the General stayed put at Mullaboden and the following year was in court pursuing damages from the State. He was awarded £21,000. His architect stated that the walls of the original house could not be reused but that the undamaged servants quarters and outbuildings would form the basis of a new residence. Mullaboden Lodge was the original stable yard complex serving the big house. Today, Mahon's rebuild stands 300 yards away.
Having been recently reworked along with the complete restoration of the courtyard buildings by the current owners, the 7,000 sq ft complex has just been placed for sale for €1.45m through Colliers.
On the ground floor, the house comprises an entrance hall, a living room with solid fuel stove and dual alcoves. There's a family room with open fireplace leading to the country kitchen with a central island unit, a double oven and a gas fired Rangemaster. Double doors lead to a sunroom, which in turn opens to a paved patio.
There's a drawing/dining room with a stove and a utility room has a door to the courtyard. Upstairs, a corridor connects the courtyard wing to the main house section. There are five double bedrooms, three ensuite and two with dressing rooms. One side of the courtyard forms part of the residence, while another has three open car ports with a studio loft. The final side comprises a range of seven loose boxes and tack room over which are two further studio lofts. To the rear of the courtyard are two single storey stone buildings.
The partly converted garden house is in the lower garden and this stone building has been reroofed and double glazed. On the grounds of seven acres, there's also a three-bed cottage included in the sale and this provides rental income potential.
As for General Sir Mahon, he remained a senator until his death in Dub1in in 1930 aged 68.
Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare
Asking price: €1.45m
Agent: Colliers (01) 6333700