Queen Victoria is reputed to have supped tea at this Laois property
Queen Victoria is reputed to have supped tea at this Laois property, which is on the market with 45ac and an established tourism business
Architect James Gandon, renowned for the design of the Customs House and the Four Courts in Dublin, left a significant mark in Co Laois with the building of Emo Court and the nearby Church of Ireland church at Coolbanagher.
The former Glebe House associated with the Coolbanagher Church, along with a courtyard converted into self-catering accommodation and a farmyard on 45ac, is on the market by private treaty with a guide price of €1.25m.
The house (not designed by Gandon) was built in 1790 and among its more illustrious visitors was the long-serving Queen Victoria. She dropped in during her state visit to Ireland in 1861 and is reputed to have taken tea in the drawing room and discussed buying Emo Court as an upmarket holding area for her son - the playboy prince Edward VII.
The then Prince of Wales was developing quite a reputation for himself in the aristocratic boudoirs of London and Paris.
Perhaps Queen Vic was hoping a spell in Laois might cool the ardour of the heir- apparent, who eventually ascended to the throne in 1901 and reigned until 1910.
The Old Rectory, as it is now called, was bought in 1952 by a local farming family, the Deverells.
Just over 20 years ago, the current owners, Wilf and Ingrid Deverell, diversified the farm enterprise, adapting the house and its ancillary buildings to include a playschool, established in 1993, and a self-catering tourism business established in 1999.
The self-catering business includes a coach-house, converted into two apartments, and the formers servants' quarters in the main house that includes three bedrooms upstairs with a kitchen, living room and sunroom on the ground floor. The entire property covers in the region of 6,200sqft.