Georgian with a rosy outlook
Built around 1830 and located in the picturesque Village of the Roses
The chocolate box village of Glasson was established to serve Waterstown House, built in 1746 for Gustavus Handcock, MP and Recorder of Athlone, and his wife, the heiress Elizabeth Temple of Mount Temple.
The estate had originally belonged to the Dillon family and was the site of one of their many castles, built by Sir John Dillon at the end of the fifteenth century but later confiscated by Cromwell and granted to the Handcocks.
In its heyday as the home of the Harris-Temple family, Waterstown - designed by Richard Castle (also known as Cassells), regarded as one of the greatest architects working in Ireland in the 18th century - was amongst the most magnificent in Co. Westmeath, but today only faint ghosts of its former splendour remain.
In 1923, following the War of Independence and Civil War, the estate was sold to the Irish Land Commission which divided the land between local farmers, leaving the house to fall into ruin. In the village, the school built by the philanthropic Isabella Harris, in the hope that education could prevent a repetition of the Famine, is still in situ.
Glasson - in Irish the word 'glasan' means 'small stream' - lies in the heart of Goldsmith country, named after the 18th century Irish writer and poet, Oliver Goldsmith, who grew up in the nearby town of Lissoy where the ruins of his childhood home can still be seen. One of Goldsmith's most well-known poems, 'The Deserted Village', written in 1770, is thought to be about Glasson, also known as the Village of the Roses thanks to its central core of two-storey rose-covered houses that are one of the reasons Glasson is a busy tourist destination in the summer months.
The Tullaghan river flows through the northern end of the village and on to Killinure Lough, part of Lough Ree. Overlooked by Caraun Hill, Glasson is very much a hub for boating folk exploring the waterways, and can be accessed from four nearby marinas, all of which are within walking distance of the village. As a consequence, it is home to several good pubs and restaurants, although the most well-known, The Fatted Calf, decamped to nearby Athlone some years back.
A pivotal building in the village, Glasson House was built around 1830 and is an elegant Georgian property with 3,500 sq ft of living space sitting on almost two acres of garden and paddock, with an asking price of €500,000. It retains many period features, including some fine marble fireplaces, although the windows are modern.
The two principal reception rooms - the drawing room and dining room - lie to either side of the front door, with the kitchen, sitting room and utility room to the rear. There is a self-contained, two-bedroom apartment in an extension to the rear, which would make a handy granny flat. This has its own separate entrance and is also linked by an optional door to the main house.
There are four further bedrooms upstairs on the first floor and in the attic, with three bathrooms in total between the house and apartment.
Outside, there is a large courtyard, plenty of car parking space, and a number of storage and outbuildings that could be put to any number of uses, subject to planning permission.
In the surrounding area, there are some beautiful walks, including those around Walderstown bog and Portlick Bay, near the privately-owned 11th Century Portlick Castle. There is also an equestrian centre, and the village is home to two local hunts, the Glasson Farmers' Hunt and the South Westmeath Harriers.
For golfers, there are plenty of options to choose from, with the Glasson Country House Hotel Golf Club's course, designed by Christy O'Connor Jnr., having a reputation as one of the most challenging and scenic in Ireland. The 15th hole is particularly photogenic, with both tee and green flanked by lakeland.
Athlone Golf Club, meanwhile, is a well-regarded 18-hole parkland course situated on the shores of Lough Ree. The course is partially built on the ancient esker Riada that helps drain the course, making it one of the best winter courses in the midlands.
Mount Temple is a traditional Irish Championship golf course, known for its large links-type greens and undulating fairways. The area around Mount Temple is the site of numerous historical ring forts and an abbey dating back to the 13th century.
Close to the village in an area which was originally the deer park of the Waterstown demesne is Wine Port, so named because wine was brought from France and Spain by boat and landed here, and brought to the cellars under the house by cart. A four-star hotel, The Wineport Lodge, is located here now and its waterside restaurant is well-regarded and for many years served as the location for the RTE and TV3 series, The Restaurant.
Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Asking price: €500,000
Agent: Sherry Fitzgerald O'Meara, (0906) 475500