HOW many people can say their family has lived so long at one property that they can't tell you when they didn't?
These days it is often deemed remarkable when a home goes up for sale after being in the same family for 50 or 60 years. But the Crinion family have lived so long at their home in Rushwee that historical records post date their arrival.
So they don't actually know for how long they've owned the property and the property hasn't ever been sold in recorded memory. Rushwee House was built some 160 years ago, and earliest data shows Crinions living here for at least five generations (also in a previous house on site) since the 1700s. Before that, no one knows.
Located outside the Co Meath village of Slane, the 2,798-sq ft house was built in the 1860s by Michael Crinion and Mary Duff. The couple, who had at least 11 children, married in 1847, at the height of the Famine.
Indeed, there are still two famine pots - used to serve soup to the poor - in the vast gardens.
The couple's second son, Thomas Frances Crinion, inherited Rushwee House and its farm. According to historian and writer Turtle Bunbury, in 1905 Thomas Crinion married Mary Ellen Frances Plunkett, a descendant of the saint and martyr Oliver Plunkett. During the heatwave and drought of 2018, marks of what was believed to be the childhood home of Oliver Plunkett, whose head is on display in St Peter's Church in Drogheda, were uncovered on the grounds of the Loughcrew Estate in Co Meath.
Cromwell had confiscated the estate from the Plunketts in 1652 before assigning it to the Naper family in 1655.
Historically, the Crinions were also a "saintly bunch", according to Rosalie Jenkinson, who has lived at Rushwee House since the 1990s, when she married John Crinion, who died in 2003. Affinity with faith is widespread here and an old mass path, using during the anti-Catholic penal laws, leads to the neighbouring Rushwee chapel and cemetery, where many of the Crinions are buried. Its baptismal font now stands in the gardens of Rushwee House.
Around the lawn field to the front of Rushwee House are the remains of a ha-ha, a type of sunken fence used during the Georgian era to prevent livestock from encroaching on formal gardens yet allowing residents of the house the illusion of an unbroken, continuous rolling lawn.
When Jenkinson was having the front porch restored, she wrote a brief history of Rushwee and the Crinion family and stuffed the document into one of its two timber Doric columns for posterity.
In the entrance hall, there is a feature staircase and a grandfather clock, which - until recently - had last been repaired in 1910. Either side of the hall are two dual-aspect reception rooms, where Jenkinson and Crinion entertained visitors from all over the world. Both the drawing room to the left of the hall and the blue-painted front dining room to the right have large marble fireplaces and picture rails.
The heart of Rushwee House is the country kitchen to the back of the home. A floor-to-ceiling redbrick surround frames the kitchen's cream Aga. Jenkinson rarely uses the tumble-dryer in the neighbouring utility room, instead favouring the old drying rack that hangs from the ceiling near the Aga.
As well as modern trappings like a centre island unit and a breakfast area, there are accoutrements that hark back to a time when this was a working kitchen used by servants: there is a Kent wheel knife sharpener from the mid-19th century and a panel of service bells connecting each room to the kitchen.
Double doors from the kitchen open onto a pretty south-facing patio.
There's a home office, a bathroom, and a guest WC. Off the first-floor landing is an arched stained-glass window. The dual-aspect master bedroom to the front comes with a large en-suite and a walk-in wardrobe. There are four more bedrooms sharing two other bathrooms.
The property is for sale in three different lots: the main residence and 20 acres is available for €950,000, while 60 acres of farmland alone is asking €550,000. The price-tag for the entire 80-acre farm and the house is €1.5m through Sherry FitzGerald.