Wednesday 22 January 2020

Charming Victorian in peaceful Kildare on the market for €700k

Garavogue House, Prosperous, Co Kildare: €700,000

Nicola Conway Nicola Conway outside Garavogue House.
Nicola Conway Nicola Conway outside Garavogue House.

Words: Fran Power. Photos: Tony Gavin

Most old houses have a story to tell but few have one as unusual as the tale that comes with Garavogue House in a green and peaceful corner of Kildare.

The vendor, Nicola Conway, has never lived at the property. Instead she inherited it in 2014 from her birth mother, Frances Cash. She knew Frances socially - as do most people in the horse world. Frances Cash produced show horses at Garavogue for many years and was the seven-times Supreme Champion show at the RDS, a record that has not yet been broken.

Garavogue Houe, Prosperous
Garavogue Houe, Prosperous

But while Nicola knew Frances well and had worked in the stables at Garavogue when she was younger, it was only much later that she discovered Frances was her mother. Nicola was adopted in 1970 and mother and daughter only learnt that they were related in 2009. "It was like meeting up with an old friend," she says.

When Frances died she left her home to Nicola. "She gave us a great gift. My husband and myself sat down and thought seriously about moving to Garavogue House. We did the figures on paper but it would have meant a huge upheaval for us and our two children to move here. My husband is well-rooted where we are."

So it is with some reluctance that Nicola has put the house, which sits on 14 acres, on the market.

Garavogue House is a charming early Victorian property built in 1834 as the rectory for the parish of Ballynefagh in the barony of Clane. According to the ecclesiastical register, the Board of First Fruits awarded £600 towards its construction.

The charming early Victorian property has retained many of its original features,
including shutters and fireplaces
The charming early Victorian property has retained many of its original features, including shutters and fireplaces

Few reminders of its former use as a rectory remain in the main house but there is an intriguing feature still standing in the grounds.

A tin tabernacle, which Nicola describes as "the flat-pack of its day" was built by the local rector back in 1834 to accommodate his flock. Galvanised on the outside, wooden inside, it still has Gothic windows with a trefoil design. These days, however, it serves as a storage area for fuel rather than a place of worship. But it would make a fascinating renovation project.

The house itself stands two storeys over basement and many of the original features such as shutters and fireplaces remain. On the entrance floor there is a covered porch that leads into a large hallway with an elegant curved staircase and a double-aspect dining room off to the left. To the right there is a sitting room with double doors that leads into the drawing room. French doors lead to the garden.

In the basement, there is a study, bedroom, pantry and generous-sized kitchen with cream-painted units, an Aga, and French doors that lead up to a sunny patio on the lawn. The first floor has three double bedrooms and a bathroom. There is also a WC with shower on the entrance floor as well as an outside loo.

Garavogue House, Prosperous
Garavogue House, Prosperous

"It is in good repair but in need of modernisation," says Nicola, "but it hasn't been mucked about with."

At the rear of the house there is a tack room, and six stables. "They were used by Frances until 2012 when she retired," says Nicola. "Three are in good shape but need new doors. Three need work." There is also a large hay barn. In total, the outbuildings come to 94sqm.

The property comes with a two-bedroom bungalow built in the late 1980s that, for a small outlay, says Nicola, "would be the cosiest little house in Ireland." It could also be repurposed as an office or staff accommodation - or even used to bring in rental income.

The main house is set in the centre of mature trees with acres of grassland that, until recently, were being grazed by Nicola's own horses. She has inherited a love of horses from both her birth mother and her adoptive parents.

An avenue lined with lime trees winds up to the front door and there is a sand arena to the rear that could be restored if the new owners wished to continue its tradition of producing fine show horses. Garavogue House is also well-placed with respect to The Curragh, Punchestown and Fairyhouse race courses for those who enjoy a flutter.

Era: 1830s

Size: 270sqm

  • Joint agents: Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes (01) 237 6300; Sherry FitzGerald Reilly (045 868 412; Bannon Auctioneers & Valuers (01) 801 1300. Viewing: Strictly by appointment

Sunday Independent

Editors Choice

Also in Life