Era: 17th Century
Agent: Savills (01) 663 4350
Viewing: Strictly by appointment
There are certain factors that are crucial when you're deciding on which house to buy. Location, for starters; price, of course; then how many bedrooms, whether it is in need of work and which way it faces. But after those questions are addressed, there is another set of attributes that don't necessarily add value to a property, but are worth considering nonetheless. One of these is what the vendor does for a living.
Chances are that a house that is being sold by an architect or builder or interior designer, for example, will be a well-designed home in relatively good nick. They may well have undertaken those expensive but invisible works to address wiring, plumbing and dodgy roofing that save heartache down the road and, if you're very lucky, they may even have added a final polish of tasteful decor on top.
Mullenkeigh House in Cloughjordan, north east Tipperary - which has seen a price drop of €80,000 from its original asking price of €575,00 - would seem to fall into that category. The owner Dawn O'Sullivan has just retired from Courtyard Antiques, which she ran from a studio to the rear of the house.
Dawn has spent decades hunting down treasures across Europe and restoring them. And Mullenkeigh House itself, parts of which date back to the 17th Century, could be classed as another one of her treasures.
Mullenkeigh House was originally built for the spinster sister of Baron Dunally, says Dawn, and traces of that early 17th Century house remain in the bread oven recessed deep into the walls of the kitchen, in some of the wooden beams and the cutstone garden wall. During the Georgian period, the house was upgraded and new windows were added.
Dawn has also carried out works. "I'm always doing little bits to it," she says. Over the last 30 years, she has rewired, re-roofed and replaced the front windows. A new boiler and zoned heating system for each floor went in two years ago, while the interiors are decorated with her favourite pieces of furniture.
The property is set out over three floors and runs to 289sqm in total. The hallway has an original oak beam and leading off to either side are two reception rooms. The dining room to the left has original timber boards that Dawn 'rediscovered' under a hardwood floor, as well as a recessed sash window.
Double doors open to the kitchen which has an oil-fired AGA, built-in units, and a slate floor reclaimed when the roof was redone. Across the hallway is a large and elegant drawing room with wooden floors and French doors to the garden, while to the rear is a good-sized interconnecting utility and laundry room with a Belfast sink and large linen cupboards.
On the first floor, there are two spacious bedrooms - the master bedroom has three windows, carpeted floors and an en suite with bath and shower, as well as storage with hanging space. There is also a generous shower room with a cast iron fireplace on this level.
The third floor has two charming bedrooms with high-pitched ceilings with dark wood beams.
To the rear of the house is the studio, which has been renovated and currently stores Dawn's antiques. It has potential, with the appropriate planning permission, to be converted into a two- or three-bed cottage to bring in a rental income. Alternatively it might allow a young family to buy jointly with a parent, who could downsize to the cottage.
The property sits on 11 acres of good land, with a state-of-the-art all-weather sand arena that measures 30m x 50m, a restored block that houses 10 stables, a feed room and a tack room - Dawn's daughter Kate O'Sullivan is a well-known showjumper.
The land is set out in three fields with mature gardens and has many established trees, including walnut, plum and apple, and raspberry beds.
Mullenkeigh House sits on the edge of Cloughjordan village, in lush north-west Tipperary, a spot perhaps best known for the eco-village that has re-invigorated the area.