Pictures: Mansion on 250ac hits the market in Waterford for €6m

Rockett Castle
Rockett Castle
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

One of the most salubrious properties to come on the market in recent times is Rocketts Castle at Portlaw in Co Waterford on 250ac of land.

The farm is centred around a lavishly renovated mansion in an estate that includes a five-bedroom fishing lodge, a garden cottage, a walled garden, a stable yard with a polo field, a hunter trial course, a 13th Century castle and a working farm with 135ac in tillage, 36ac in pasture and 59ac in woodlands.

The place is for sale by private treaty and is guided by Savills at €6m.

Rocketts Castle began life as a Norman settlement built by the Rockett or La Rochelle family. During the rule of Charles 1 it fell to the Earl of Ormonde, and after Cromwell finished his business in Ireland he handed the estate to one Sir Algernon May, who in a fit of humility renamed it Mayfield. In 1787 was acquired by the Medlycott family, who remained there until the 20th century.

Rocketts Castle aerial view
Rocketts Castle aerial view

In 1861 they commissioned Galway architect Samuel Roberts to build the house that still stands beside the ruins of Rockett Castle.

In 1997, a Russian oligarch, Valery Zakharenkov, bought the place and kept it for eight years, spending a fortune renovating the entire estate. The splurge of €700,000 on the Waterford Glass chandeliers gives an indication as to the scale of the investment.

Rocketts Conservatory
Rocketts Conservatory

The house was completely insulated, modernised and refurbished, as were the fishing lodge and all ancillary buildings including the walled garden and the gardener's cottage. The Russian spared nothing.

The house is a lavish six-bedroom mansion with six bathrooms.

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Many of the original features have been maintained while modern features such as under-floor heating and a security system have been added.

The 'fishing lodge' is another mansion and much of the stone from the old stone courtyard was used in its renovation.

Rocketts Gardener Cottage
Rocketts Gardener Cottage

On two floors, it includes five ensuite bedrooms, a sauna, a steamroom and a spa. Other accommodation includes a sitting room with stove and a fully fitted kitchen.

The refurbished walled garden includes the gardener's cottage (right) used as a tack room, a traditional apple house, kennels, a playground, a helicopter landing pad and two tennis courts.

The current owners, Thomas and Rosemary Driver - who have extensive business interests in Waterford as well as being large-scale potato growers - founded the Rocketts Castle Polo Club here and established a hunter trial course through the estate.

Both Zakharenkov and the current owners developed the land to include 134ac in tillage, 36ac in permanent pasture, 59ac in woodland and 20ac in ponds, yards, buildings, scrub and roadways. Part of the land, 38ac, is zoned for potential future development within the Portlaw local area plan.

Rocketts kitchen
Rocketts kitchen

The land is the finest of ground, rising from five to 15 feet over sea level. It is free-draining fertile soil described by the auctioneers, Savills, as capable of growing anything from daffodils to corn.

The tillage land has been let to local farmers.

The pasture to the east of the estate is in smaller divisions surrounded by hedgerow.

The land can be accessed throughout the estate and from three entrances to the public road.

James Butler of Savills describes Rocketts Castle Estate as one of the finest all-round estates to be offered for sale on the open market in Ireland for a number of years.

€6m is the asking price for this mansion on 250ac near Portlaw in Co Waterford, reports Jim O'Brien

Past owners of the estate on the banks of the Suir include a Russian oligarch who invested millions in the property

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