I spy... a 19th century home in Wicklow for €1.15m
During the 1970s author Frederick Forsyth lived here
Published 25/03/2016 | 02:30
The novelist Frederick Forsyth, author of The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File and the Fourth Protocol, among others, seems to have always had a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
It's a gift that has stood him in his career as a journalist, in the research for his best-selling spy thrillers, in his moonlight career as an 'asset' to MI6, and in his five-year sojourn in Ireland.
Forsyth moved with his wife to Kilgarron House in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, in 1975, and almost immediately became intimate with Charlie Haughey, who had introduced the tax exemption for artists some years previously.
In his memoir, The Outsider' published last September, Forsyth described how Haughey's "long-time girlfriend" would hold dinner parties at her pine kitchen table, where he and his Irish-born wife, Carole Cunningham, befriended the "shirt-sleeved, affable and humorous" Haughey.
Forsyth has always claimed he didn't know about the artists' tax exemption when he moved here, but by happy accident was able to take advantage of it, all the while driving his white Rolls-Royce around Enniskerry.
In 1980 the Forsyths decided to leave, as they were worried that their two sons, both born in Dublin, might be kidnapped by the IRA. (Dr Tiede Herrema had been abducted from near his home in Limerick in 1975). Haughey, by then Taoiseach, was "horrified," as Forsyth tells it, and practically begged him to stay, even offering him a seat in the Senate, but he declined.
The couple returned to England and Kilgarron House passed to new inhabitants. It would have been a vast and rambling place back then, having been built around 1860 for the daughter of Lord Powerscourt.
Some time after Forsyth's residency, though, the owners made the rather unorthodox decision to divide it up, so what was Kilgarron House is now two semi-detached houses - Kilgarron House and Oakview, which is now on the market for €1.15m.
The properties have preserved a fair amount of privacy, however, as they're back-to-back rather than side-by-side, and there are separate driveways.
They're still sizeable enough - Oakview has a floor area of 2,578 sq ft, with four bedrooms and three reception rooms, and it's on 0.65 of an acre of grounds which have been tirelessly cared for by the owners.
Inside, there are period features such as high ceilings and vintage radiators, but the décor could do with refreshing here and there. Most of the rooms are carpeted, the kitchen is old-fashioned and the windows are PVC.
The ground floor has a narrowish hallway running the full length of the property, about 50ft long, and there's a corresponding hallway on the first floor, if a little shorter. All the principal rooms are on one side of this hallway, that being an inevitable result of dividing up the house.
The first of the reception rooms is a dual-aspect drawing room measuring about 16ft by 22ft, with a fireplace and mountain views from the windows.
There are wide double doors here giving onto an oblong dining room, about 10ft 6"by 16ft, with a floor-to-ceiling French window at one end opening to the garden.
Next to the dining room is a family room or 'snug', which has a wood-burning stove, and there's an opening from here to the dual-aspect kitchen, at the opposite corner of the house from the drawing room.
The kitchen measures about 16ft by 14ft and has country-style wooden cabinets and a fire engine red Rayburn. There's also a guest toilet and utility room on the ground floor.
Of the four first-floor bedrooms, three are en-suite, and there's a large attic above that which might be converted by the new owner.
The grounds, by contrast, require nothing by way of intervention. There's a smooth sloping lawn interrupted by full-grown trees, busy flowerbeds, and scatterings of daffodils. There's also a vegetable garden, and for those times when a keen gardener wants to relax and enjoy their handiwork, there are seating areas dotted all about, following the sunshine. The grounds also include a garage and a workshop.
Oakview is almost in the centre of the post-pretty village of Enniskerry, much of which was designed and built in the early 19th century. It's 600 metres from the house to the copper-domed clock tower in the square. The village and the nearby Powerscourt estate have appeared in numerous film and television productions including Into the West, PS I Love You, Ballykissangel and The Tudors.
Enniskerry is about a three-minute drive from the N11, which means you can make your way from Oakview to Dublin city centre in about 45 minutes, assuming light traffic.
Oakview is on the market with agents Ganly Walters (01) 662 3255, and has an asking price of €1.15m.
Enniskerry, Co Wicklow
Asking price: €1.15m
Agent: Ganly Walters (01) 662 3255