Stunning period home is on the market for the first time in 200 years for €3.5m
Period home is on the market after over 200 years in the ownership of the Pollock family
The Georgian-era owner of Mountainstown House, situated near Wilkinstown in County Meath, was the first in a long line of Pollocks who haven't minded getting their hands dirty.
This was John Pollock, a Dublin solicitor who rented the place from the Gibbons family before buying it outright in 1796, establishing a family seat that's extant to this day.
Pollock was bent on improvements of all kinds. He added a two-storey wing to the southwest of the house - which had been built in 1720 - and took a keen interest in agriculture, breeding long-horned Leicestershire cattle.
When one of his heifers developed breathing difficulties and died, Pollock arranged an amateur post-mortem and discovered a growth at the base of her tongue. So when a second heifer showed the same symptoms a few days later, Pollock naturally decided to operate on her himself (there were not many veterinary surgeons about in 1805).
The luckless animal was tied down and had her throat cut open, without anaesthetic needless to say. The polyp was yanked out of the wound, whereupon Pollock cut it off and stitched her up. Miraculously, the heifer was munching grass the next morning and within a few days was "as well as ever she was", Pollock reported.
His son, Arthur Hill Cornwallis Pollock was also strong on agri-science. The Irish Farmer's and Gardener's Magazine in 1834 reported that he grew the best jargonelle pears, the weightiest nectarines, and the best ranunculuses.
And the tradition has been kept up by the current generation. Arthur Pollock and his wife Atalanta have strenuously improved the house and gardens since they inherited it in 2004.
Mountainstown is on 120 acres with gardens, parkland, paddocks and woods. At the front there's a formal garden with box hedging, gravel paths and a sundial commissioned by John Pollock.
Arthur and Atalanta have added a sunken patio garden with a pond and raised beds - ideal for prize ranunculuses.
Elsewhere there are lawns and pasture, a vegetable bed and greenhouse (for jargonelles and nectarines), and belts of mature and newly planted hardwoods.
The 400kV North-South interconnector will pass through the demesne, if it goes ahead. (An Bord Pleanála began oral hearings in Carrickmacross last month.) Eirgrid reports that the centreline of the scheme will be a kilometre west of the house.
Two avenues lead to the property, and you enter it by means of a double set of stone steps. Set in the ceiling of the entrance hall is what is reportedly a death mask of the original owner, Samuel Gibbons.
The house is roughly L-shaped, and in the south-facing wing are four reception rooms. First is the library, a dual-aspect room decorated with gilded carvings of the Pollock family crest - a boar being pierced by an arrow, which legend has it was granted after a Pollock primogenitor saved the king of France from a wild boar attack. The library also has its original oxblood leather wall covering and a grey marble fireplace.
Behind the library is a small dining room, with a wood floor and a white marble fireplace. The two principal reception rooms - the drawing room and the main dining room - are beyond that. The drawing room has an ornate gilded ceiling and a three-windowed bow which gives onto a flight of steps down to the garden. In the dining room there's a black marble fireplace and two large windows facing south. There are also some workrooms at this end of the house, namely a laundry and linen room, and a butler's pantry, to serve the dining room.
Right of the entrance hall there's a playroom and a study, both with marble fireplaces, and beyond them is the kitchen, another dual-aspect room with window seats in the four windows, and fitted with an oil-fired Aga.
The main staircase leads to a gallery landing on the first floor, where there are six bedrooms, four en suite. The master bedroom has a bow window corresponding to the drawing room below, and its en suite has a marble-surrounded jacuzzi bath. There's also a family bathroom on the first floor with a large raised roll-top bath and a marble fireplace.
At attic level are three more bedrooms, all with fireplaces, a sitting room, and a bathroom with another roll-top bath.
The basement has a billiard room in the original kitchen, a 'shoot room' in the former servants' hall (which still has servants' bells), a gym, a music room and a garden room, which opens to the sunken garden outside. There are also a couple of wine cellars and storerooms at this level.
At one end of the lawn is the former gardener's house, a two-storey cottage that's been partly renovated. And near the back gates there's the keeper's lodge, which has two bedrooms, a shower and an open-plan living room and kitchen.
The grounds also include three yards of outbuildings, among them stables, coach houses, a forge, and various 19th century farm buildings.
Now putting an end to over 200 years of ownership, the Pollocks have placed Mountainstown House on the market with Savills, (01) 663 4350, and the price has been cut from €4.15m to €3.5m.
Navan, Co Meath
Asking price: €3.5m
Agent: Savills Dublin (01) 663 4350