Friday 30 September 2016

Down by the river Nore

A period-style property close to the centre of Kilkenny city

Eithne Tynan

Published 09/09/2016 | 02:30

'Siloam' was built in 1990 and pays homage to Georgian architecture
'Siloam' was built in 1990 and pays homage to Georgian architecture
Siloam dining room
Aerial view of the house with the River Nore at the end of the garden
Siloam front door
Staircase in the entrance hall
Kitchen and breakfast room with a traditional tiled floor
Siloam stables
The sun room

The Nore Valley walk takes in some of the loveliest scenery in Co Kilkenny. You can leave the city and head south along the river to Bennettsbridge, and for the entire 12 kilometres you'll be marvelling aloud at the wonders of nature and history. Then of course you'll have to walk back and it's likely you'll spend the whole of the return journey grumbling, as is the custom on linear walks.

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The gardens around 'Siloam', a fine, five-bedroom detached property on extensive grounds in Kilkenny city, stretch right down to the River Nore. So at least your ramble will end early and you'll be home for your tea that bit sooner.

Alternatively, you can turn left instead at the end of your garden, and take the footbridge to Kilkenny Castle. It's a much shorter walk and there are the castle's pleasure grounds to be enjoyed at the end of it. But there's the potential for sad reflections too, on the fate of Anne Boleyn, whose granny was born in the castle and who had a little girl aged only two when she was beheaded by her husband, Henry VIII. That the little girl grew up to become Elizabeth I can inspire musings of an even more sobering kind.

Failing all that, and if you're interested in neither riverbank walks, wild birds nor English tyrants, 'Siloam' presents itself as a development opportunity. It comes with 10.62 acres and there's potential for development as the land is zoned for low-density residential use.

The entrance to the property is at Sion Road, not far from the main thoroughfare into and out of the city. There you'll see a discreet pair of electric gates between stone pillars, beyond which there's a gravelled avenue leading to the impressive forecourt of the house.

It's a handsome, two-storey building that looks deceptively old, what with the terracotta chimney pots, the rampant creeper and the crowd of old trees standing about. In fact, it was built by its current owners only in 1990; they wanted to pay careful homage to Georgian architecture, and they succeeded.

The frontage of this home is covered entirely with Virginia creeper, a pleasing deciduous soft climber which transforms spectacularly with the seasons. At present, it moving from the green foliage of summer to a fiery Autumnal red and as winter approaches this will change again to burnished orange and finally to a bright sunny yellow before the leaves fall off leaving brown stems. The result is that this home changes colour with the seasons.

The front of the house is lit up by copious casement windows. That elevation is due northeast, so the abundance of openings will make the most of available daylight. That means the back of the house faces south, getting the sun all day, and is where all the best rooms are.

The front door is flanked by sidelights and topped by a fanlight, and inside it is the 19ft by 17ft entrance hall, dominated by an imposing bifurcated staircase.

To the right of this hall there are two reception rooms - a study at the front and a wood-floored drawing room behind it. The drawing room is dual-aspect and almost 25ft wide, with a window at the front and three sets of double doors at the back taking you into the back garden.

At the back of the hall, two doors lead into the dining room, where there are more double doors to the garden, flanked by two large windows.

To the left of the hall there's another, slightly smaller reception room - a sitting room this time, with a brick fireplace containing a solid-fuel stove.

Behind that there's the kitchen and breakfast room, measuring just under 16ft by 18ft, with a traditional tiled floor and a brick alcove against one wall accommodating an Aga.

The kitchen opens into a sunroom which has the same vintage floor tiles, a vaulted timber ceiling and yet more double doors to the garden.

Also on the ground floor there's a utility room and shower near the kitchen, and at the opposite end of the house, next to the drawing room, a store room with a door to the outside.

The five bedrooms are upstairs and three of them have en-suites. These include the dual-aspect master bedroom which measures about 16ft by 15ft. The main bathroom is also on this level. The floor area of the house in total is 3,720 sq ft.

Outside, the grounds are thick with mature broadleafs and there's a patio and a winding lawned garden surrounded by flowering shrubs. Elsewhere the lands are in paddock, and to go with that there's a yard of outbuildings including five stables, tack and feed rooms, a garage and storehouses.

You're very close to the centre of Kilkenny here, so there will be ready access to the city's rich cultural life and its embarrassment of annual festivals.

MacDonagh Railway Station is about 20 minutes' walk away and there are trains to Dublin from there about every two hours. By car the journey to the capital will take about an hour-and-a-half via the M9 and M7.

Schools in the city include, probably most famously, the Church of Ireland Kilkenny College.

Jonathan Swift went there, so it must have a good reputation for honing a youngster's sense of the absurd - a marketable skill in the home of the Cat Laughs comedy festival.

'Siloam'

Sion Road, Kilkenny

Asking price: €1.475m

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes in Dublin (01) 237 6402 and Sherry FitzGerald McCreery in Kilkenny (056) 772 1904

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