Saturday 25 March 2017

Snap up Sean Connery's former Bond hideout for €1.495m

Sean Connery rented Violet Hill while filming a blockbuster

Sean Connery
Sean Connery
Sean Connery spent almost a year living in Violet Hill
The dining room of Violet Hill
The drawing room with dark timber frame ceiling.
The Gothic staircase leads up to a galleried landing.
The Venetian arches with rose-coloured marble pillars.
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

In the 'Ten Worst Irish Accents Ever in Hollywood Movies' published last month by IrishCentral, Sean Connery not only takes the number one slot for his offside broguetry in Darby O'Gill And The Little People, but also secures second place for the quare tones of his Prohibition cop in The Untouchables.

Only in Connery's wake rank the oft-noted manglings of Kevin Spacey (Ordinary Decent Criminal), Julia Roberts (Michael Collins) and Tom Cruise (Far And Away).

While the Bond star can be forgiven his efforts in Little People (made in 1959), he has no excuse for the 1987 production of The Untouchables given that by then he had spent a year living in Bray, Co Wicklow for the making of The First Great Train Robbery (1979). This big budget production was largely filmed at nearby Ardmore.

The Bond actor rented Violet Hill House, one of north Wicklow's three best Gothic Revival homes and a property which, for a time, became a regular rental pit-stop for those making movies at Ardmore located a few hundred yards away. Connery threw parties where guests included Peter Sellers and the hard-drinking author Alistair McLean, who would himself rented the house for a time.

In 2013, an auction of its antique contents had a distinct Connery slant - among the items was his watch and the croquet mallet he wielded on its lawns.

Violet Hill was constructed in the 1860s by the Darley-Millar family, a wealthy clan of industry whose local brickworks was at its commercial zenith just when Bray's own economy had shot into orbit following the arrival of the rail link to Dublin in 1854.

A group of like-minded local Victorian businessmen, including the railway's developer William Dargan, plotted to make Bray the Brighton of Ireland. Almost overnight the rail link, combined with the new Victorian societal trend for sea bathing, made Bray Ireland's busiest resort.

Dargan built the town's Moroccan-styled Turkish baths which cost the then massive sum of €10,000 and opened in 1859, and its influence may explain the most unique aspect of Violet hill - a series of elaborate Moorish influenced Venetian arches in its main hall, supported by stout rose-coloured pillars of marble.

The drawing room with dark timber frame ceiling.
The drawing room with dark timber frame ceiling.
Sean Connery
Sean Connery spent almost a year living in Violet Hill
The dining room of Violet Hill
The Gothic staircase leads up to a galleried landing.
The Venetian arches with rose-coloured marble pillars.

Violet Hill was designed by the architect William Fogerty and the larger house was subdivided in the 1970s. This property comprises the principal wing and great hall of the original.

The house sits on three and a half acres and a long driveway sweeps up from a set of iron gates at Herbert Road.

Along with the aforementioned arches, the main hall has an elaborately carved Gothic staircase leading up to a galleried landing and comes with an open fire with a white carved mantelpiece with gothic arch pattern and the ceiling is beamed like many of the main reception rooms.

The library has a pitch-pine floor and panelled ceiling with gilted decorative rope pattern cornicings. The drawing room has twin French doors either side of a decoratively carved marble fireplace with a ceiling in thick set dark timber frame pattern with lighter panel work in between.

The dining room has a square bay window and half height timber panelling.

There's an inner hall connecting the dining room to the kitchen from back in the day when servants did all the running.

The Venetian arches with rose-coloured marble pillars.
The Venetian arches with rose-coloured marble pillars.
Sean Connery
Sean Connery spent almost a year living in Violet Hill
The dining room of Violet Hill
The drawing room with dark timber frame ceiling.
The Gothic staircase leads up to a galleried landing.

The morning room, with a marble surround fireplace, also features a pitch-pine floor and a kitchen/breakfast room with an oil-fired Aga cooker. Upstairs, there are five bedrooms with a bathroom off the master chamber.

The main bathroom also doubles as an ensuite off bedroom two. There's a sixth bedroom in the staff apartment on this floor which also has its own living room, kitchen and bathroom.

The Victorian Gothic extravaganza is available for €1.495m. If elaborate gothic interiors can shake your senses, see if these don't leave you stirred.

Violet Hill, Herbert Road,

Bray, Co Wicklow

Asking price: €1.495m

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01)2866630

Indo Property

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