Take a look inside former President Mary Robinson’s home which just sold for €400k less than expected

Massbrook House stands on 113ac - the woodlands extend to over 60ac and the remainder is in grazing ground
Massbrook House stands on 113ac - the woodlands extend to over 60ac and the remainder is in grazing ground
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

Massbrook House, one of the more celebrated properties to change hands at the end of 2017, was the home of former President Mary Robinson and her husband, Nick.

Guided pre-sale at €1.95m, it sold for €1.55m to Malcolm Bell, the co-founder of Technopath Clinical Diagnostics in Ballina, Co Tipperary.

The house with a gate lodge on 113ac of woodlands and grazing is located on the shores of Lough Conn in the shadow of Nephin, close to Pontoon in Co Mayo.

The Robinsons have owned the place since 1994 and in the intervening years, Nick Robinson has waged a successful battle against rampant rhododendron.


In its place he has planted a substantial number of broadleaf trees, oak and beech in particular.

The Healy-Raes could take a leaf out of his book in their attempts to control the rhododendron in Killarney.

The land, extending to 113ac, is made up mainly of woodland with about 50ac in grazing ground. While the estate has extensive frontage on to Lough Conn, much of the land is well elevated and has lovely views over the lake.

There are numerous pathways and driveways through the woods and a number of access points to the public road. After a tour of the woodlands and grazing areas, we arrive at Massbrook House.

Get the latest news from the Farming Independent team 3 times a week.

Set on an elevated sight, it is surrounded by woodland and has fine views of the lake. The mature gardens include tennis courts located close to the shore.

The house dates from 1890 when it was designed by Sir Thomas Drew, consulting architect for St Patrick's Cathedral and Christ Church in Dublin and St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast, completed in 1899.

Looking out over Lough Conn, the residence is spacious and elegant without being imposing. The ground-floor accommodation includes a drawing room, dining room, study, billiard room and a small kitchen. Upstairs is a bathroom, a library and four bedrooms, of which three are en-suite.

The accommodation consists of large spaces with wooden floors and wooden panelling.

The drawing room to the left of the reception hall is centred around a marble fireplace set in an arched recess giving the impression of an enormous fireplace, the kind typically found in mediaeval banqueting halls.

This room is large but comfortable and designed to catch the light throughout the day. Off the drawing room is a study with windows looking out on to the gardens.

The dining room is found to the right of the hall. This is a fine room with a marble fireplace and lovely views over the lake.

Adjacent to the dining room is the modest but fully fitted kitchen beside which is a cold room and a scullery. To the rear of the hall is a traditional, classic billiard room with panelled walls and a full-size billiard table.


Upstairs are five bedrooms of which three are ensuite. The main bedrooms are spacious and comfortable and command the best views of the lake. This floor is also home to the library with wall-to-ceiling shelving, a beautiful room. In fact, the entire house has the feel, texture and atmosphere of a library, there are books everywhere and anyone with a love of reading and literature could stay here forever.

Immediately outside and to the rear of the house is a guest apartment with a sitting room, bedroom and bathroom.

Beside this is the boiler house with a state-of-the-art wood pellet boiler providing clean and efficient heating for the house.

Located on the grounds near the house is a set of magnificent garages and storage spaces with roll-up doors.

The previous owner had one of the largest classic car collections in Europe, which he housed here at Massbrook.

He was also a helicopter enthusiast and among an assortment of sheds and buildings throughout the estate is a disused helicopter hangar, while a substantial boathouse is situated on the lakefront.

Indo Farming

For Stories Like This and More
Download the Free Farming Independent App