A river runs through it: Fully restored Marshfield House on sale for €1.5m
Marshfield House has perfect salmon fishing at the end of its garden
At one time the owners of historic Marshfield House in Leixlip, Co Kildare liked to eat a lot of fish. Strangely they also required plenty of trout as part of the contract which allowed them to build their house in the first place.
Marshfield House, which looks over the River Liffey was originally built between 1711 and 1713 for Ben Rayner, a local innkeeper from Leixlip. Rayner leased the land from one Mr Joseph Marriot, and as part of the deal he was contracted to produce "two dozen trouts yearly and every year at Christmas".
Storing such numbers of trout might have presented a bit of a bother for the Rayners - and later the Marsh family who lived here - had the home's residents not availed of a clever pre-refrigeration device designed to keep those fish fresh for weeks on end.
The live fish were captured in the river and then released into what was once a man made canal segment linked into the Liffey. With a grid over the river end, the channel was used to store and hold the live fish until they were required for the table; or at this time of year, for the Marriots' table as part of the original property contract.
In the early 18th century Leixlip was a thriving town and the Liffey water was a resource used for lots of different industries. In the very beginning there was fishing - the town was founded as a Viking settlement named for the great fishing (in Norse Lax Hlaup means 'salmon's leap'), there was also calico milling, and for a few years in the 1750s, there was Guinness Ale.
In 1752, Arthur Guinness's godfather Arthur Price, left the brewer £100 which the former invested in setting up a brewery at Leixlip in 1755 - making ale. Presuming it mustn't have been much good, in 1759 Arthur moved to the current site at James' Gate in Dublin and began concentrating on stout instead.
Built in the Queen Anne-style Marshfield House got its current name from Archbishop Narcissus Marsh, better known as the founder of Marsh's Library in Dublin. His family lived here and he often stayed in person. Notably his niece was an early long term occupant of the house.
Later it was rented for many years by a Captain Atkinson and subsequently, by the Cavendish and Forsyth families. The house was acquired in the 1980s by the current owners who have restored it a little at a time.
Located on the boundary with Dublin and 18km from the city centre, the house and its two acre site is hidden behind automatic gates at the end of a cul-de-sac between St. Catherine's Park and the River Liffey. It is located just downstream from Castletown House and Leixlip Castle and is five minutes walk from Leixlip village.
Approaching along a driveway curving below 200-year-old blue cedars, the grounds include floral arches which lead to the riverfront for some perfect trout and salmon fishing.
Entering through the arched doorway, the lofted hall features Marshfield's original 300 year old staircase with hand-carved bannisters and a matching arched window on the half-landing. To your right is the formal drawing room which comes with an Adams style carved white marble fireplace.
Beyond this is a lovely bright oriental room with lots of windows, currently used for painting by the owners. To your left is the formal dining room with a corner fireplace. Behind this, a passage with service bells opens to the rustic and atmospheric kitchen with original arched stone hearth. French doors lead from here to a sun room set in a south-facing walled courtyard. To the rear is another large conservatory with French doors opening to the rear courtyard.
Up the main staircase is a bright as landing and three truly enormous bedrooms. From the half-landing a side stairs leads up again to three more big bedrooms on the second floor, with a very substantial attic space.
This property has been fully restored by the current owners and retains many period features such as broad pine floorboards, solid panel doors and sash windows with wood shutters and granite sills. All the main rooms have fireplaces and large south facing windows. It has also been furnished in keeping with the period, and all furnishings are available for purchase.
Going out the front door the extensive front lawn with its fish pond, summer-house and various statues, planters and seating options, rolls down to the riverside. A wicket gate leads to the sunny walled courtyard containing a utility outbuilding with two marble food preparation tables.
Beside this is a garage and an adjacent chicken coop. Behind a row of colourful beech trees lies a paddock extending to over an acre with river frontage and fishing rights. There is full planning permission for a detached double garage with hay loft and two stables/storerooms or offices. The house is available for offers in the order of €1.5m.
Leixlip, Co Kildare
Asking price: €1.5m
Agent: Des Lalor, (01) 2478851