In Pictures: Ivy-clad Tipperary home is the stuff of country living dreams
Imposing period home was extended to feature two frontages
Published 25/11/2016 | 02:30
So many Stonyhurst boys fought in the Great War that eventually, in 1927, the school published a book called The Stonyhurst War Record to commemorate them.
Some 1,012 former pupils of the Jesuit boarding school in Lancashire served in World War I, and 167 of them died. Stonyhurst also erected a marble shrine honouring its war dead, with a roll of honour listing their names.
Among the names commemorated is that of Victor Stanislaus Galwey Foley of Tipperary, the son of an RIC man, John Matthew Galwey Foley, who resided at the time at Ballintoher House outside Nenagh. Victor was fatally wounded at the Somme in October 1916, at the age of 29, having packed a lot of adventure into his short life.
After leaving Stonyhurst he tried studying for the priesthood at Clonliffe College, but found he had no vocation and enlisted instead in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. With them he served in Crete before being posted to China and afterwards to India. After quitting the army he started ranching in Canada, then fatefully re-enlisted when war broke out.
Several of Victor's brothers shared his sense of derring-do: four of them served in the army and another was killed along with Victor. Perhaps because of those losses, their policeman father found the limits of his courage when it came to the Irish War of Independence. After being wounded while defending his home against raiders in 1921, John Matthew left Ballintoher forever and took off for the less treacherous neighbourhood of Bognor Regis, spending his retirement there instead.
Ballintoher House was reportedly built in 1890, although there's a house on the spot (marked Ballintogher) in both the first- and second-edition OS maps, and a Ballintogher House is mentioned as early as 1786 in William Wilson's 'Post-Chaise Companion'.
At any rate, the building that stands there now was extended in 1910 to become roughly L-shaped, and there are adjoining outbuildings forming an almost entirely enclosed courtyard behind the house.
Over the past 30 years or so the current owners have restored and upgraded Ballintoher, and they've been careful to hold onto many of the authentic features, including high ceilings with cornicing, marble fireplaces, and wood floors.
Because it was built in two parts, it gives every impression of being a house with two front doors and two very different frontages, and both are fairly imposing, with sidelights and a mantle of creeper.
This layout gives you two hallways as well, and two staircases. There are two formal reception rooms off the first of these hallways - a drawing room to the right and a dining room to the left. Both are dual-aspect and have floor-to-ceiling bay windows overlooking the grounds. Off the dining room there's a bar with windows onto the private courtyard, so you can escape the dining table for a snifter of something restorative in absolute privacy.
A connecting hallway leads to the other part of the house, and the second hallway and stairs. On one side of this hall there's a family living room with a wood-burning stove, and on the other side is the kitchen, where the dining table is eased into a deep bay window.
The stairs here leads up to a first and second floor above, where there are four bedrooms - two on each floor and all with en-suite showers and built-in wardrobes. The other two bedrooms, also both with en-suites are upstairs from the other hall in the 'extension', but there's a connecting hallway upstairs too to link the whole lot together.
The overall floor area in Ballintoher is 5,212 sq ft, but there's a lot more space to be brought to heel if you want to. The outbuildings around the courtyard include a coach house and a lofted grain store, as well as a double garage, and all these buildings are ready for conversion to guest apartments, work spaces or just more living rooms.
The house is on 3.48 acres of grounds, including lawned gardens dotted with mature trees and shrubs, a fenced grass paddock and an orchard. But the paved courtyard, being as sheltered and secluded as it is, is the area that suggests itself for outdoor entertainment. With this mind, the owners have installed a built-in barbecue and a pond.
Ballintoher is a little over two kilometres from the centre of Nenagh. As the crow flies, it's only about 150 metres from the M7 motorway but it will take around five minutes to drive down to the on-ramp. This will get you to the outskirts of Dublin in about an hour-and-a-half or, if you go the other way, to Limerick city centre in about 40 minutes.
It's about a 15-minute drive to the shores of Lough Derg, if you like fishing and boating, and if you prefer horsey pursuits, Nenagh Equestrian Centre is across the road.
Ganly Walters (01) 662 3255 is handling the sale of Ballintoher House, and the asking price is €995,000.
Nenagh, Co Tipperary
Asking price: €995,000
Agent: Ganly Walters (01) 662 3255