Fit for a duke - Ancestral home of the Duke of Wellington hits the market
This 64ac residential farm in Kildare was the ancestral home of the Duke of Wellington
Last week I travelled to the borders of Kildare and Wicklow to view a fine property, Grangebeg House, a Georgian residence on 64ac. The holding is for sale by private treaty and is guided by Jordan auctioneers at €1.5m.
The road south-east took me through great Kildare horse country. About 14km from Naas and 6km from Kilcullen, I came on the impressive gateway to Grangebeg. A tree-lined avenue with stud rail fencing leads to the house, a two-storey over basement residence that is well proportioned without being too imposing.
The place has an interesting history having been acquired by the Warren family in 1626. Henry Warren was MP for Kildare in 1642 and he married Elizabeth Eustace. Their grandson Richard assumed the surname and the arms of Wellesley, and from that line came Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. The Duke's mother, Anne, lived at Grangebeg and is buried in nearby Gilltown Cemetery.
The Duke himself was born in Dublin in 1769, but never considered himself Irish. His biographer Lawrence James wrote: "Neither he nor his kin ever considered themselves as Irish. The Anglo-Irish aristocracy had nothing in common with the indigenous, Gaelic-speaking and Catholic Irish whom they despised and distrusted."
The hero of Waterloo had a low opinion of the Irish, describing them as "a nation of scoundrels" even though it's estimated that over 8,000 Irishmen - approximately 30pc of the Duke's men - fought for the British army that defeated Napoleon in 1815.
Paddy Jordan and Clive Kavanagh of Jordan auctioneers take me on a tour of the place, a fine property with a very homely feel to it. We felt so much at home that Paddy put on the kettle and made tea.
While the exterior of the house is very much as it was in the day, there are some tasteful modern touches such as the fully-fitted kitchen.
It has all the classic Georgian features, such as ornate plasterwork, coving, centrepieces and shuttered windows. There is a nice, lived-in feel to this house and while a new owner might wish to add their own touches, the place is in turn-key condition. The spacious reception hall, complete with fireplace, leads to the drawing room and the dining room on either side.