Tuesday 24 January 2017

Fairytale estate in County Clare on the market for €1.25m

Kells Country House €1.25m

Published 26/02/2016 | 02:30

Kells Country House is a former guesthouse, it has turrets, battlements and a round tower.
Kells Country House is a former guesthouse, it has turrets, battlements and a round tower.
The main reception room is in the style of a banqueting hall.

It's no surprise to see a 15th century tower house on the Irish landscape, and even less of a surprise to see one in ruins.

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But Urlanmore Castle, near Newmarket-on-Fergus in Co Clare, is a sad case. It now consists of not much more than a pile of stones, but it had at least one unusual feature while it stood.

In 1936, a Sergeant Long was stationed at Newmarket-on-Fergus and discovered some mural paintings - frescoes - on the second floor. He found a hunting scene with two hounds attacking a deer, a Madonna and child, and the remnants of a depiction of St Francis. Luckily he sketched them, as they'd otherwise have been lost to posterity.

The Annual Journal of the Shannon Archaeological & Historical Society reported the collapse of Urlanmore Castle in 1999, and though it's on Clare County Council's list of protected structures, it's past saving.

If you can't rebuild a mediaeval castle on your own, the next best thing is probably to build a brand new one. That is just what the owners of Kells Country House did.

It stands a couple of hundred metres due south of the ruins, and is a castle in the fairytale style, with turrets and battlements and a round tower.

It's quite a bit more roomy than a tower house, at 7,000 sq ft. That includes five bedrooms, and as the property was formerly a guesthouse, they're all en-suite.

The main reception room is in the style of a banqueting hall, with a high beamed ceiling, an overhead gallery and an adjoining bar, where you might serve mead, perhaps. There's also a kitchen, dining room and family room, and a study in the gallery.

Kells Country House is on five acres of grounds looking out over the Shannon Estuary to the west. It's for sale for €1.25m with Sherry FitzGerald O'Donovan in Shannon (061) 361905.

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