Elegant €4.75m manor in Gorey has played host to Elizabeth Taylor
Elegant manor played host to some of Hollywood's A-list
Published 28/08/2015 | 02:30
His conscience might have repaid him, but Robin Hood can't have got much pecuniary reward from his habit of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.
For the couple of dozen actors who've played him on film and television through the decades though, it's an entirely different matter.
One of these was Richard Greene, who portrayed the legendary outlaw in a hugely popular British TV series between 1955 and 1959. 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' made Greene a household name, and enabled him to buy what was then a 370-acre estate, Borleagh Manor, near Gorey, County Wexford, in 1962. There he lived in semi-retirement, occasionally, it is reported, entertaining celebrity guests including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Cary Grant.
As an interesting aside, the hugely successful series (which sold well in the USA) recruited a big team of top Hollywood writers who had been blacklisted as "un-American" by the McCarthy era hearings. They worked under pseudonyms in the UK and since claimed to have written anti-US conservativism parables into those scripts.
But back at Borleagh, Greene was also able to indulge fully his fondness for equestrian pursuits. He bred racehorses there, and became master of the Wicklow Hunt, before selling the place 10 years later and returning to London.
The estate is a lot smaller these days, at 154 acres, but it's still a horse-lover's paradise, with around 30 stables and associated buildings, and four kilometres of woodland bridle paths - perfect for Robin Hood-style frolics. And sure enough, it's been owned by a succession of horsey people since Greene's day, including the well-known British trainer Sue Bramell.
Borleagh's origins lie with the Quin family, who built the house sometime around 1840, possibly including the fabric of an older structure. They owned it for almost 200 years and many are still there, in a private cemetery on the grounds.
The estate now consists of the main house along with two guest cottages, the equestrian facilities, and 154 acres including a manmade trout lake, woods, a tennis court, and a restored walled garden.
The house itself is at the end of a one-kilometre avenue, past entrance gates where a pair of stone eagles alight on the pillars in perpetuity. This simple but elegant country house, on two storeys with a semi-basement, has a total floor space of 8,611 sq ft and faces due east, with distant views of the Irish Sea.
A short flight of granite steps leads to the entrance hall, with a flagstone floor and a pillared arch. The hall is T-shaped, with the reception rooms arranged around it. To the left is a bow-ended drawing room measuring over 27ft by 18ft, with a marble fireplace and arched recesses, and to the right is the dining room, both at the front of the house.
At the back are three more living rooms. First is an open-plan kitchen and family room measuring over 30ft by 20ft, with polished wood floors and exposed ceiling beams. The kitchen has a centre island with a Belfast sink, and an adjoining butler's pantry, while the family room area has a raised open fire.
From there you cross an inner hallway with a secondary staircase to the shelf-lined library, which has another fireplace. Double doors there open into a sunroom, which gives onto a flagstone terrace outside. And if you keep walking from the terrace, you'll pass a pagoda covered in white wisteria on your way to the tennis court.
The four bedrooms are on the first floor, three of them en suite. The master bedroom has a marble fireplace, a shower, separate toilet, and a dressing room with mahogany wardrobes.
The semi-basement is used mostly for recreation and is aimed at children, with a street-scene design and both a billiard room and a games room. There's a wine cellar too, for the enjoyment of grown-ups. Working rooms in the basement include an office and study, a laundry, a boot room and various stores.
Of the two guest cottages, one is a recently-built thatched affair with a kitchen and living room, its own terrace near the lake, and four bedrooms. The other is the smaller gardener's cottage, with an open-plan kitchen/living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom.
Behind the main house is a courtyard with a central formal garden with box hedging and a three-tier fountain. It's surrounded by many outbuildings including stables, a workshop, a staff canteen and office. A second courtyard has more stables and an American barn, and there's also a coach house.
A road leads from the house over an old stone bridge across a stream, to an ornamental manmade lake of about an acre, with three landscaped islands and a stock of brown trout. On the lakeshore is a log cabin with decking built out onto the water.
About 80 acres of the grounds are woodland and 66 are paddocks. The rest is gardens, where rhododendrons abound. The restored walled garden has a glasshouse and dozens of fruit trees, as well as fruit bushes and vegetables, interspersed with box hedging and lawns.
Borleagh Manor is about 10 kilometres from Gorey and an hour-and-a-half from Dublin.
It's for sale with Colliers International, (01) 633 3700, for €4.75m.
Gorey, Co Wexford
Asking price: €4.75M
Agent: Colliers (01) 6333700