Mansion for silver screen stars seeks over €10m
John and Anjelica Huston hosted stars John Wayne and Gregory Peck at this 386 acre Georgian home, writes Caitriona Murphy
Dating back to the second century, the rich history of Courtown Demesne can be traced back to Ollill Ceatach, the son of an Irish king and his decendants.
While the original dwelling has long since been consigned to history, the current Georgian home was constructed by the Aylmer family in 1815 and later extended.
Throughout its history, the Kilcock, Co Kildare property has been associated with the rich and famous, including director/actor John Huston and his daughter Anjelica who lived there in the 1950s and played host to some of the world's biggest stars, including Maureen O'Hara, Gregory Peck and John Wayne.
The 1,250sqm (13,456sq ft) mansion has been beautifully preserved for its age, and all credit for this work must go to the current owners, the O'Mahony family. Since 1981, the family have worked tirelessly to maintain the luxurious interior and expansive grounds.
Among the features they have restored are the dining room parquet floor, which was modelled on a floor in the Palace of Versailles, and an ornate conservatory built by Richard Turner, who also worked on the Palm House at Kew Gardens, and the glasshouse in the Winter Gardens at Regent's Park in London.
Despite its enormous proportions, Courtown has managed to retain the sense of a comfortable family home.
Approached by a flight of original granite steps leading to the main door, the accommodation in this three-storey property opens with an entrance hall featuring a grand oak staircase overlooked by a large domed skylight.
Off this hall are the dining room, a study/library and drawing room, all of which feature panelled ceilings, decorative marble fireplaces and high sash windows.
The generous kitchen features a four-oven Aga and is large enough for entertaining guests informally.
Overlooking the 386 acres of Kildare plains and beyond to the Dublin and Wicklow mountains, the master bedroom suite on the first floor includes an en-suite bathroom, dressing room and walk-in wardrobe.
There are five further bedrooms and three bathrooms located in this part of the main house.
The guest wing has its own private side entrance and features two bedrooms, a bathroom and fitted kitchen.
Perhaps the most modern elements of Courtown Demesne are contained in the large basement.
As well as the original wine cellar, this level contains a snooker room with private bar and a gymnasium with sauna.
However, the property also includes many other modern amenities, including a helicopter hangar and landing area located close to the house. The grounds contain three equestrian yards, each designed to cater exclusively for polo, hunting and breeding horses, as well as a modern farmyard and three estate cottages.
The grounds also include a tennis court, croquet lawn, swimming pool and manicured formal gardens. The property is only six miles via motorway (M4) from the Intel and Hewlett Packard facilities in Leixlip and is also convenient to Maynooth's universities.
Courtown Demesne was put on the market during the boom with an asking price of €21m, reflecting its significant development potential. The property is zoned under the Co Kildare Development Plan 2011-17 and the Kilcock Local Area Plan 2009.
Under these plans, the main house and stud farm would be retained, but the land used to create new projects including a 40-acre business park, a 125-bedroom hotel with conference facilities, spa and gymnasium, an 18-hole golf course and 72 holiday homes.
As such development seems unlikely in the near future the guide price has been reduced and offers in excess of €10m. are being sought.
Knight Frank 01 662355 or Coonan Real Estate Alliance 01 6286128