Follow the fairway to heaven
Luxury is par for the course in bespoke home at Mount Juliet resort
In 2004, when Bryan Higgins and his wife Adrienne built their 3,788 sq ft home at the 500-acre Mount Juliet estate in Co Kilkenny, they had intended it to be a weekend retreat from their hectic career schedules in Dublin.
Bryan's working week was spent advising investors on the financing of large international property transactions. Adrienne, a marketing specialist, was running her own company.
Bryan is a golf enthusiast, so it was par for the course that their house would be built near the championship Mount Juliet estate.
The couple's vast four-bed home overlooks the fourth hole of the Jack Nicklaus-designed course which has hosted three Irish Opens and two American Express World Championships, one of which was won by Tiger Woods.
It's perhaps no surprise therefore that it became the couple's full-time resident. "We were drawn to the atmosphere within the estate and to the surrounding countryside," says Bryan. "At the time, the estate was quite unique. Even though you had the K Club, Mount Juliet was something special."
The Co Kilkenny golf resort, which is home to the Michelin-starred Lady Helen restaurant at its 18th-century Manor House, has become even more distinctive as it nears the end of a €10m-facelift by Tetrarch Capital, which bought the estate in 2014. Tetrarch refurbished the Manor House, revamped the Hunter's Yard building and extended it into a 93-bed hotel, and opened a Paul McGinley golf academy.
Like all builders of residences there, Bryan and Adrienne had to ensure the design of their home, No. 2 The Glen, matched the style regulations set out by Mount Juliet to ensure it is in keeping with the character of the estate.
So the couple asked their architect to design a south-facing two-storey property for their one-acre plot, that maximised views of the golf course and echoed the Manor House's Georgian style. The result is a symmetrical exterior with a central doorway and box-bay windows.
Despite its traditional appearance, the house was constructed using a modern Belgian system of low-energy building that led to it earning a B energy rating years before the introduction of BER regulations. The home's eco-credentials include geo-thermal underfloor heating and triple-glazed windows.
The house, which is approached via a gravelled driveway, has steps made from Kilkenny limestone leading to the front double doors. Inside, there is an entrance porch flanked by a boot-room on one side and a guest WC on the other. The porch leads to a reception hall with a sandstone fireplace and Crema Marfil marble floors.
This space, which doubles as a dining room that can accommodate as many as 16 guests, also has a dramatic curved staircase. Like so many features, the stairway, which has stainless steel balustrades and marble steps, was designed specifically for the house.
"The two chandeliers, one in the entrance porch and one in the living room, were handmade in Ireland by Niamh Barry," Bryan says. "The whole house was bespoke, from the doors to the architrave and skirting to the fireplaces."
Double doors to the right of the hallway open on to a dual-aspect drawing room with a box-bay window and a full-height sandstone fireplace. On the other side of the reception hall, a further set of double doors leads to the sitting room with its bespoke cabinets either side of a contemporary-style white fireplace with a gas-fire inset.
The kitchen is fitted with special edition white SieMatic wall, floor and island units created to mark the high-end German brand's 50th anniversary, as well as natural granite countertops and Wenge timber flooring. A set of bi-fold concertina glass doors open on to a rear decked area, a sunken patio and landscaped garden. A study, a second lavatory, a utility and a wine cellar complete the downstairs accommodation.
Upstairs, there are three double en suite bedrooms off the large landing. The piece de resistance, however, is the opulent master bedroom, dressing room and en suite bathroom that combine to occupy almost half of the first floor. This dual-aspect room has a balcony overlooking the golf course, the river Nore and the countryside beyond.
The main bedroom also has a feature floating wall that creates a divide between the sleeping quarters and a reading area. The dressing room, which is fitted with Italian wardrobes, leads through to the en suite. This bathroom has natural Travertine stone wall and floor tiles, his-and-hers' washbasins, a stand-alone bath and a double shower unit.
Outside, there is a cobble-locked parking apron with enough space for several cars, and a detached 258-sq ft garage. Behind the back garden are two paddocks that reflect Mount Juliet's equestrian heritage - the estate was once owned by the horse-breeding McCalmont family and it is beside Ballylinch Stud. The resort is also home to an equestrian centre and horse trails used by Adrienne, who rides horses in her spare time.
Viewing is by appointment.
2 The Glen
Mount Juliet, Thomastown,
Asking price: €995,000
Agent: Knight Frank (01) 6342466