Elegant Galway home on the banks of the Corrib can be yours for €1.8m
Killeen House Bushy Park, Co Galway - AMV €1.8m
Having had their curiosity piqued by the locked gates of Killeen House, Bushy Park in Galway, the intrepid mother and daughter team of Mary and Catherine Doyle made it their business to attend a viewing when the property went on the market back in 1976.
Within half an hour they fell for it, without even walking the land. However, their ardour cooled when they discovered that the lakeside home was for sale by tender.
Fast forward a few weeks and a chance encounter between Catherine and the auctioneer over tea at an antiques auction in Cork led to decisive action. A deal was struck at the table and sealed by the late Mary the following week following a speedy chat with her bank manager. "They were different times," reflects Catherine. "We had always lived in old houses and had a passion for antiques. We never regretted the move to Killeen House."
It's easy to see why. Set on 17 acres beside Glenlo Abbey, four kilometres from Galway city centre, the house, built in 1837, and its grounds which include woodlands, river access and stables, had always been meticulously maintained. The privacy provided by the high stone wall is another plus.
Killeen House was originally owned by three British lawyers, according to Catherine. The Palmer merchant family who owned Glenlo Abbey bought it as a dower house in 1904, with Geoffrey JH Palmer selling it in 1949, she says. "It was then owned by a Mary Simonds who had returned from India and who was known as a fantastic gardener. She had it until 1963 when an American banker, Frank Manheim, bought it as one of his many homes.
"The Manheims stripped back the house, fitting very good electrics and heating, as well as a fifth bedroom and three bathrooms - very unusual for the west of Ireland at the time. They also put in marble fireplaces and laid parquet and wooden flooring which is all still there. It was in fantastic condition when we took it over," Catherine enthuses.
In 1993 the Doyles, who had backgrounds in the hospitality industry, opened four en suite rooms to guests whom they welcomed for the next 15 years. A cottage at the side was coverted into a garden suite providing a sixth en suite bedroom in 1995. In 2002 a seventh bedroom - with disabled access and en suite wet room - was added at the side of the house.
The 557 sqm of accommodation is arranged over two floors, with oil-fired central heating. The main residential rooms are grouped off the entrance hall enjoying natural light and views of the grounds. There are two drawing rooms with bay windows, one with a Connemara marble fireplace and door that opens into the garden. The dining room connects to a bespoke German kitchen. There's also a conservatory, utility room, and laundry room. Two bedrooms are on the ground floor. One upstairs bedroom has its own fireplace and two have balconies.
You arrive at Killeen House through electronic gates on to a driveway through landscaped grounds that offer views of lovely countryside. Walkways through the grounds and wooded areas lead to the banks of the River Corrib. Visible from the house, the paddock is walled and fenced. The back yard comprises six former stables and a garage.
While Catherine has loved her life in the house, the time has come to say goodbye. "My mother died in 2006 and the house just hasn't been the same for me since. I have very happy memories of family time there and for the right person it will be very special." She is leaving the dwelling fully-furnished, with even linen and cutlery laid on.
Selling agent Don Colleran contends that nothing to compare to Killeen House has been offered for public sale in Galway previously. "Its charm, superb condition, seclusion yet accessibility to the city, sets it apart. For a young family it would be a magical home."
Its size and convenience to the city renders it a potential perfect property and location, subject to planning permission, for other business opportunities such as a health and retreat centre, conference facilities, or boutique hotel, says Colleran. When it comes to completing the sale, no doubt a cup of tea, once again, can be the sweetener.
Agent: Colleran Auctioneers (091) 562 293
For sale by auction: May 26 at 3pm in the Victoria Hotel, Eyre Square, Galway