Edwardian pad with its own pavilion on the market for €760k
* Old hunt lodge in Bray has its own party pad on the side * Unique selling point: A home with its own pavillion
Published 20/11/2015 | 02:30
In 1875 it took 1,500 men two weeks to construct a raised platform "hide", protective stockades, a guiding funnel and netting through the Ceylon jungle - all designed to channel a herd of charging elephants straight to the heir apparent of the British Empire.
When the big day came, the Prince of Wales (known to all as "Bertie") pulled on his pith helmet and waited above with his gun while the locals tried everything in their powers to shoo the elephants in his direction. Eventually they had to start a forest fire.
As the terrified pyro-propelled pachyderms finally came thundering towards him, the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) blasted away until one of the animals toppled over dead, damming up a stream. The portly prince was helped to climb on top of the carcass to pose for the sketch artists (it took somewhat longer than a selfie). Bertie's hunting trip became the lead story back home, the highlight of his Ceylon visit (now Sri Lanka).
The same Bertie noted a day's shooting in his diary at home in Blighty during which "we killed 2,092 head" - this time meaning rather smaller pheasants and hares (he shot 166 pheasants - which works out at a steady one every three minutes sustained over eight hours).
Hunting has always been the big passion of royals and therefore, by imitation, the aristocracy and the aspiring classes in these islands. In Victorian and Edwardian times, however, it became an obsession. Hunting was an occasion for male bonding and such trips normally required a lodge to stay in, to drink, gamble and generally carouse in after a day spent shooting things by the thousands.
And about this time, their wives and children became similarly fixated with the seaside, leading to an explosion of beach resort towns like Brighton, Blackpool and Margate.
Here in Ireland it was locations like Greystones and Sandycove that factored among the equivalent resorts. So if you found a location that combined sea and quarry, you had the perfect holiday destination.
Bray on the Pembroke Estate in north County Wicklow was that perfect resort - Ireland's Brighton with quick rail access to Dublin, a long beach and classy guest houses aplenty. It was also the ideal kick-off for deer hunting through the Pembroke lands running along the Dargle Valley to Glencree.
Waterside - a period home with its own contemporary pavilion attached for entertainment, parties and dances, would have been the perfect hunting lodge.
Local accounts say Waterside was a hunt lodge (although there's no definite proof) and it is located on the older outskirts of town with access to the valley and with its own frontage to the trout river Dargle (the aristos liked to fly fish as well). This is further reinforced by the fact that two homes, once adjoining and knocked down some years ago for development, were also dedicated hunting lodges in their day.
At almost 3,200 sq ft (roughly three times the size of an average semi) there are signs that Waterside dates originally from the late Victorian era, but may have been extended in the Edwardian period to which it owes most of its mock Tudor styling.
These details include the timber beam crossing and the covered verandah around the exterior and the stained glass panels. The home has period fireplaces and some of the bathrooms still have the original Edwardian porcelain ware.
Most unusual of all, is that it comes with a contemporary pavilion from the Edwardian era which spans 560 sq ft - around the size of a modern apartment or the ground floor of an average semi-d. This comes with a beamed ceiling and a quality springy (and possibly sprung) timber floor, which has been put to good use for family parties and comings of age by the present owners (recent empty nesters).
The pavilion, which must also have hosted plenty of events related to hunting and holidays in the past, could also lend itself to conversion as additional accommodation for teenagers or elderly relations.
It might also be suited for classes, a home office, hobbies or as a studio/workshop.
Meantime, accommodation at the main house includes a smart kitchen in the rustic style, family room, dining room, drawing room, sun room conservatory in the style of the period, and a study. There are five bedrooms, of which three are en-suite.
The house has around a quarter acre of gardens and direct and private frontage to the River Dargle, which is renowned for its fly fishing and wildlife. The river is home to a stock of brown trout, has a run of salmon and the largest Irish specimen sea trout (over 16lbs) was hooked from it.
For those taking a view to keeping horses, this house also has potential. Outside there's a buildings complex that includes a main stable, tack room, utility room, home office, part open fronted barn, second stable and coach house.
And, of course, the attractions which once brought the tourists streaming to Bray are still in evidence - from this end of the town you are within reach of miles of the best equestrian territory, walks and scenery on the east coast.
While now a busy suburban centre with plenty of shops, restaurants and other amenities, Bray still has its Victorian seaside character intact, especially the slightly grubby but still immensely elegant promenade which is still popular with day trippers. Bray is served by the DART into Dublin and a regular bus service. And the wild deer are frequent visitors in these gardens - these days they roam largely unmolested.
Dargle Vale, Bray, Co Wicklow
Asking price: €760,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 2866630