Enormous Wicklow mansion with a private pool hits the market for €1.5m
Wicklow mansion in Ashford resembles an airport.
IF you didn't already know that it was a house, you might think that The Danes was a golf club, or a spa, or even - as an architect to whom I showed the pictures suggested - a small regional airport. It even had the dubious honour of once being nominated "most Celtic Tigery house" in Ireland by a property discussion website.
But The Danes is a house - and a very big one at that - of the ilk that you might expect to find on the golf course in Augusta rather than in the rolling hills of County Wicklow. With 8,300 sq ft of living space, six ensuite bedrooms and a swimming pool, this is a home for a big family that fancies the idea of country living on a grand scale in a house that has, as they used to say, all mod cons. It's as big as many period country estate houses.
These days, mod cons mean more than central heating, an indoor loo and plumbing for a washing machine and dishwasher. At The Danes, there is programmable under-floor heating, a smart control lighting system, and an audio system throughout.
The accommodation is spread over three floors, with the main living and bedroom areas at ground level.
The kitchen has one of the largest AGAs ever seen in captivity, and an enormous central island. The open plan space includes a breakfast room, and there is an adjacent family room. A separate dining room and enormous barrel-ceilinged living room, with exposed beams, are designed for living large.
An expanse of terrace wraps around this side of the house - doors open out from inside - and must be a wonderful place to sit and eat outside in fine weather, with glorious uninterrupted views across to the Wicklow Mountains.
Four bedrooms are staggered, hotel-style, on this level. Each has its own ensuite bathroom and three have private balconies. There are also two guest lavatories and a utility room. The master bedroom suite is upstairs, off the galleried landing. It too is ensuite, with a separate dressing room and its own balcony.
At the front of the house is a two-storey round tower with rooms on both floors. The tower would be suitable for home office use, and there are more great views from the upper level, this time towards Wicklow Head and the Irish Sea.
The swimming pool complex is on the lower ground floor, and includes a Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, showers and loo. A separate bar (with Bulmers, Guinness and Budweiser on tap) and games room confirms that this is a house designed for parties, with no fear of disturbing the neighbours if things get noisy. There is a further ensuite bedroom at this level, which could be used as staff accommodation or perhaps as a home gym.
Located just a couple of minutes from Junction 15 on the N11, The Danes is accessed via an avenue leading up from electric gates. The house is on an elevated site of 19 acres, is completely hidden from the road and offers a high degree of privacy.
The acreage also provides the opportunity to keep horses. This is prime equestrian country, with the Bray and Wicklow Hunts both meeting weekly during the season and plenty of Pony Club fun on offer to young riders. And if the owners are not interested in equestrian pursuits, they could consider instead some designer sheep to keep the grass down. A large agricultural building on the property may come in handy for machinery or to store cars.
Golfers are well provided for in the surrounding area, with several nearby clubs including Blainroe, Druids Glen, The European and Powerscourt. Proximity to the coast will be attractive for sailors and fishing enthusiasts, while the spectacular beaches of the east coast are within easy reach.
Wicklow Town is a 10-minute drive, and has branches of several major supermarkets, as well as boutiques and restaurants. The Avoca mothership at Kilmacanogue is 15 minutes in the other direction, while the drive to the city centre will take about 50 minutes, and the airport (via the M50) less than an hour.
The quality of finishes used throughout the house is high and it feels solid and well-constructed. There was no stinting on hardwood, parquet and travertine floors, bathroom fittings, planting, and water features (there's even a moat), although there is a modest amount of further work to be done to complete the landscaping in accordance with the original intentions.
At a price of €1.5m, there can be little doubt that the purchaser of The Danes will be getting an awful lot of house for their money. It will have cost in the region of double that to build. Savills say that they already have plenty of interest.
Ashford, Co Wicklow
Asking price: €1.5m
Agent: Savills (01) 6634350