Georgian house in Wicklow near five golf courses on the market for €850k
Georgian house near five golf courses
There's more than one Clone House, as you might glibly deduce from the name. There are three in all - one in Co Wexford, one in Co Kilkenny, and one in a picturesque valley at the foot of Croghan Mountain, near Aughrim, Co Wicklow. The Clone House at Aughrim, though, can claim to be the first, having been reportedly built in the 1650s for the O'Byrne family.
Aughrim was the scene of a battle in the 1798 Rebellion, at Rednagh Bridge, and Clone House was burnt down at some point during that conflict - or mostly burned down. Part of the house remained (and still stands), and the rest was rebuilt around 1805. For several generations up until the early 20th century, it was owned by the Patten family - local landlords - but after that it began to change hands quite often.
During its history, it's had two-storey extensions added here and there, so that it's now described by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as "an unusual country house that has grown organically over the years, but still maintained a sense of unity".
In the 1970s, it became the childhood home of singer Tara Blaise, whose family moved there from London and stayed 16 years. Blaise recorded two albums in the 2000s then disappeared from view for a few years, before entering the Voice of Ireland competition on RTE television in 2012, where she failed to get through the audition, even though two of the judges, Sharon Corr and Brian Kennedy, knew her.
For several years, Clone House was run as an elite guesthouse by the American tech executive Jeff Watson and his Italian wife Carla. They put it on the market in 2009, saying it was earning €200,000 a year. The buyers were Liam and Aine Ó Lorcáin, who reopened it as a B&B in August 2010 and are now retiring from the business.
Along the way, the once vast Clone House estate was carved up as well. The lands at one time stretched across three townlands, but the house now stands on only four acres.
Thanks to all those rethinks over the centuries, the house has a higgledy-piggledy layout, but a pleasing one all the same, with nooks and crannies and stairs wandering about all over the place. Most of the period features have been painstakingly maintained, such as timber sash windows, fireplaces and polished wood floors.
It's roughly 7,040 sq/ft in size, on two floors, with more than half a dozen reception rooms on the ground floor and 11 bedrooms upstairs.
The main formal ground-floor reception room is a curved-ended drawing room to the right of the entrance hall, measuring more than 22ft by 16ft, with a fireplace and three windows overlooking the garden. Behind it is a dual-aspect dining room with another fireplace and a door to the garden.
On the other side of the entrance hall, there's a family room to the front, also with a fireplace, and a lounge to the back. Both of these rooms open into the kitchen, which has a walk-in pantry off it. Also adjoining the kitchen is another dining room which opens into a second hallway with another staircase. To one side of this hallway, there's a music room with an adjoining bar or snug, and there's also an office at the front of the house. At the far end of the layout can be found a gymnasium with a sauna, shower and toilet adjoining it.
The 11 first-floor bedrooms are all different. Many have fireplaces and seven of them have been individually named for the enjoyment of paying guests. They include the 'Vale of Avoca', the 'Brittas Bay' ,the 'Glenmalure', the 'Clara Vale' and the 'Glen of Imaal'.
Outside the property, there's a vast and meandering array of rubblestone single-storey outbuildings, huddled quite close to the house. Successive owners in the past few decades have been kept busy replenishing and restoring the gardens, which now include great swathes of lawn, mature trees, blossoming shrubs, banks of flowers and various water features, as well as a formal Victorian-style garden intricately laid out with box hedging.
Clone House is less than 10 minutes' drive from the village of Aughrim, where you can find a school and church, pubs and restaurants and a pleasant park situated along the banks of the Aughrim River. To reach Dublin city centre by car, meanwhile, will take about an hour-and-a-half in light traffic.
Keen golfers don't have nearly so far to travel. The nearest golf clubs are Woodenbridge and Macreddin, both about seven kilometres away in opposite directions. The European Golf Club at Brittas Bay is about 20 kilometres away. Glen of the Downs Golf Club is about an hour's drive, while the famous Druids Glen club is a little over 40 kilometres away.
Clone House is on the market with joint agents Sherry FitzGerald Ballsbridge in Dublin, (01) 269 8888, and Sherry FitzGerald Myles Doyle in Arklow, (0402) 32367, and has an asking price of €850,000.