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Dream home for horse lovers

Belmont House Ballyhays, Straffan, Co Kildare:€1.15m

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Belmont House, Straffan, Co Kildare

Belmont House, Straffan, Co Kildare

Belmont House, Straffan, Co Kildare

Belmont House, Straffan, Co Kildare

Belmont House, Straffan, Co Kildare

Belmont House, Straffan, Co Kildare

Belmont House, Straffan, Co Kildare

Belmont House, Straffan, Co Kildare

Belmont House, Straffan, Co Kildare

Belmont House, Straffan, Co Kildare

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Belmont House, Straffan, Co Kildare

The owner of Belmont House in Co Kildare, a fine four-bedroom property in the heart of equestrian country, was born and bred locally, and horses are in his blood. He has known the slice of land that Belmont sits on from the days when it was still part of the famous Whitechurch Stud.

"I knew it when it was a field," he says, "I came back from abroad and saw it built, and said I'd love that site." Set in the middle of the 8.3 acre grounds, surrounded by mature chestnut, beech and sycamore, it's a lovely spot within easy commuting distance of the capital.

The property was built in 2003 by a master plasterer who had spent much of his life in the States and incorporated many of the features of an American-style home in the build.

But it's the way that the house opens up views from the front door straight through the formal drawing room, on through the conservatory and out to the sunny rear garden which is the big selling point.

"In the summer," says the vendor, "if you open the front door, you literally see the whole way through the house to the double doors opening into the garden".

The current owner and his wife bought Belmont House in 2012 and had little to do but decorate it to their tastes, he says. "We put in panelling and aged the paint to match the white already on the doors so it looked like it had been there for 20 or 30 years."

It's a house built for family comfort and entertaining. Three of the four large en-suite bedrooms lie to the right of the elegant marble-floored hallway. All have large built-in wardrobes. There is also a family bathroom with a hot press.

The fourth en suite bedroom is to the left of the hallway. So are the main reception rooms, including the formal dining room and a cosy family room, where the owner says they tend to nest in winter.

The family room opens with double doors to the large kitchen, which is laid out for easy entertaining with a central island, granite-topped units, plenty of storage and an American-style fridge. There's enough space for a breakfast table, and views out to the rear garden. Off the kitchen is a good-sized utility room.

"There's a great flow," says the vendor. "We've had parties with the caterers in the kitchen, and the guests can move seamlessly throughout and in summer they can flow out onto the patio."

The vendors commissioned a wooden pagoda in the south-facing rear garden, which gets great use on summer evenings for dinner and drinks.

This is a high spec build with marble floors, fine detailing on doors and architraves, period-style marble fireplaces in the formal drawing room and family room and solid wood floors in most rooms.

But it was the prospect of keeping horses that lured the vendor to Belmont House. It has scope for a sand arena and stabling, and has two gated paddocks and water laid on and would suit two horses happily, says the vendor. "The paddocks are so big that you can enjoy exercising a horse on the land rather than just grazing."

Two fields away is Quantum Equestrian Centre and there's good hunting to be had with the South County, the Kildares and the North Kildare Farmers all meeting close by.

Prospective buyers who enjoy a flutter also have the pick of Irish racecourses to choose from - Punchestown which hosts the National Hunt festival at the end of April (though sadly probably not this year), Naas and the Curragh are all within striking distance.

While for golfers, there is the lure of the K Club at nearby Straffan for 18 holes and a G&T post mortem. Walkers and cyclists can enjoy a stroll down the Grand Canal, perhaps stopping off - as the vendor likes to do - at the Cliff at Lyons for coffee, and finishing canalside at the quaint Hatch Pub in Newcastle before turning back for home.

For gourmets in search of a knockout dining experience, there is Aimsir at Lyons, which was awarded two Michelin stars just months after it opened. Closer to home is Quirc in Straffan, a chic cafe that doubles as an interiors store, while the Straffan Inn is a popular spot with locals.

There is a choice of three primary schools within three kilometres, while there are secondary schools at Celbridge, Clane and Maynooth. There are private schools at Clongowes Wood in Clane, and Newbridge College on the Kildare side, and The Kings Hospital and Castleknock College on the Dublin side.

For those who want to balance a taste of the good life, with a job in the city, Belmont has good transport links. The vendor works in Dublin 4, and commutes daily, a journey he says is about 40 minutes outside rush hour.

Belmont is also well-placed for public transport with an express line from Maynooth to Dublin which, says the vendor, takes him door-to-door to Grand Canal Dock in about 50 minutes, while the express train from Hazelhatch and Celbridge station to Heuston takes 20 minutes.

The vendors are moving closer to town for the moment, "I'm a country boy married to a city girl," says the owner laughing, but he doesn't rule out a return to the green fields in the long term.

Era: 2003

BER: C1

Size: 279.5sqm

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes (01) 237 6308

Viewing: By appointment only

Sunday Independent