Tuesday 26 September 2017

Home with a view over The River Boyne on the market for €900k

Unique selling point: Built on the River Boyne

The boardwalk from Abhainn Lodge juts out onto one of Ireland's most famous salmon fishing rivers
The boardwalk from Abhainn Lodge juts out onto one of Ireland's most famous salmon fishing rivers
Abhainn Lodge exterior, with its 'Cotswolds' design
Abhainn Lodge drive
The family room with brick fireplace
The patio with its own pond and bridge
The entrance hall with gallery landing
Abhainn Lodge kitchen
Abhainn Lodge conservatory

Eithne Tynan

Abhainn Lodge on the outskirts of Navan is an English 'Cotswolds' design cottage replica with a boardwalk jutting over one of Ireland's most famous salmon fishing rivers

The Boyne River is indelibly stamped on Irish children from school age history classes, thanks to it having been the location of the most influential battle ever to have taken place on Irish soil.

King Billy was the Dutch usurper to the throne of England and was supported by most of the English. James was the incumbent, unpopular in Britain but holding the best hopes for Catholic Irish fortunes.

George d'Arcy, Lord of Dunmoe Castle, which occupies a prominent position overlooking the River Boyne near Navan, Co Meath, was the local opportunist.

D'Arcy, it is said, entertained King James at his castle on the night before the Battle of the Boyne, and then had the victorious King William around for dinner the night after to congratulate him on his victory.

Before the great battle, he stated: "Who will be king, I do not know, but I'll be d'Arcy of Dunmoe," observed Georgey D.

Abhainn Lodge exterior, with its 'Cotswolds' design
Abhainn Lodge exterior, with its 'Cotswolds' design
The boardwalk from Abhainn Lodge juts out onto one of Ireland's most famous salmon fishing rivers
Abhainn Lodge drive
The family room with brick fireplace
The patio with its own pond and bridge
The entrance hall with gallery landing
Abhainn Lodge kitchen
Abhainn Lodge conservatory

Sadly, despite this keen instinct for self-preservation, the d'Arcy family seat hasn't stood the test of time. Not much is left of Dunmoe Castle but, as it stands, it's a classic - if crumbling - example of Anglo-Norman architecture.

The Boyne River is, of course, one of Ireland's most popular battlegrounds for epic fights between Irish fly fisherman and the mighty salmon, for which the Boyne is famous. There's also a sea trout run and one of the best populations of wild brown trout.

Within casting distance of the old castle is another impressive specimen of vernacular architecture - albeit from our neighbouring island.

Abhainn Lodge was built in 1999 in what is known as the English 'Cotswolds' style, which means lots of sharp-angled gables, a superfluity of chimneys, dainty dormer windows and, of course, copious creeper plants.

To conform even more perfectly to the archetype, the roof should ideally be thatched, but no one could be faulted for deciding against all that hassle.

Navan is a long way from the Cotswolds in every sense, so Abhainn Lodge is a bit of an outlander, architecturally speaking, but it's a very pretty one for all that.

It sits on nine acres of land fronting onto the River Boyne, with - importantly for the fly fishermen and women - private fishing rights, so you can cast from your garden.

There are also equestrian facilities and woodland walks, leaving little to wish for by way of outdoor entertainment. No doubt partly for that reason, it's had rave reviews from the self-catering holiday-makers for whom it's been available to let at €900 for three nights in low season.

The family room with brick fireplace
The family room with brick fireplace
The boardwalk from Abhainn Lodge juts out onto one of Ireland's most famous salmon fishing rivers
Abhainn Lodge exterior, with its 'Cotswolds' design
Abhainn Lodge drive
The patio with its own pond and bridge
The entrance hall with gallery landing
Abhainn Lodge kitchen
Abhainn Lodge conservatory

The house itself is 3,626 sq ft in size, with five en-suite bedrooms and three reception rooms, organised in a way that's conducive to either noisy parties or a quiet read, depending on what you fancy.

You enter the house through a wood-panelled front door, leading to a double-height entrance hall with a beamed ceiling and a gallery landing above.

To the left of this, at the front of the house, is a formal and relatively secluded reception room - a drawing room measuring a little over 23 ft by 20 ft, with a marble fireplace and built-in shelving.

Then, at the opposite corner of the house, right of the hall, is a much smaller study, 11 ft by 11 ft. Those two rooms are your only option if you want to withdraw in solitude, as the other living rooms are all interconnected in a flowing layout at the back of the house.

First of these is a living room or family room, with double doors to the patio and a brick fireplace with a wood-burning stove in it. In the middle is the kitchen, which has a timber floor, cream-painted cabinets with granite countertops, a breakfast bar, and an Aga in a brick chimney alcove.

An archway in the kitchen leads into the open-plan, split-level dining room and sun room, where there's a wood floor, a Welsh dresser, and more double doors to the patio.

Finally on the ground floor, opening from the dining room, there's a utility room with a guest toilet off it.

The five bedrooms are all on the first floor, all with en-suite shower rooms, except the master bedroom which has a bath as well as a shower.

Abhainn Lodge conservatory
Abhainn Lodge conservatory
The boardwalk from Abhainn Lodge juts out onto one of Ireland's most famous salmon fishing rivers
Abhainn Lodge exterior, with its 'Cotswolds' design
Abhainn Lodge drive
The family room with brick fireplace
The patio with its own pond and bridge
The entrance hall with gallery landing
Abhainn Lodge kitchen

The master bedroom has exposed ceiling beams and, from the windows, there's a clear view of Dunmoe Castle, so you can keep an eye out for latter-day Jacobites or Williamites or both. A short flight of stairs leads from the master bedroom up to an attic storeroom. This could be fitted out as a dressing room, or a gym if you're that way inclined, or just another room to which to retreat.

The landscaped gardens feature a profusion of seasonal planting, and there's a patio with a pond and a wooden bridge leading to a circular deck, with a hot tub and barbecue.

Elsewhere, the nine acres of grounds include paddocks and woodland, and a walkway wending down to the banks of the Boyne, where there's a clearing and a wooden jetty for fishing or boating, or just picnicking.

The Boyne Way walking trail passes along the opposite bank of the river.

By way of equestrian facilities, the property has a stable block consisting of five stables, a tack room, sand arena and hay shed. There's also a detached and lofted garage beside the house, which might lend itself for use as a studio or extra accommodation.

Abhainn Lodge is in the former demesne of Blackcastle House, which is now in ruins.

The stately home was the residence of Margaret Ruxton, the aunt of Maria Edgeworth, and the novelist was a frequent visitor there.

Today, Abhainn Lodge's only near neighbour is Dunmoe Cottage, where Edgeworth's cousins lived from 1834.

The property is about five kilometres from the centre of Navan, and just under an hour's drive from Dublin in easy traffic.

The selling agent is Savills Country in Dublin, (01) 663 4350, and the asking price is €900,000.

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