Horse lover's dream house in Kilkenny hits the market for €1.1m
All manner of equine lovers are catered for here
If horses had big bank balances, they wouldn't say neigh to Ballyline House near Callan in Co Kilkenny, the very model of equestrian repose.
Along with a fine modern mansion to house your humans, the property provides deluxe equestrian accommodation, along with all the facilities required to run a successful horse business, which is what Liz Mitchell has been doing here since she moved from Exmoor in the UK two years ago.
Blue Moon Eventing, the equestrian business that she has operated from Ballyline, is known as a small private yard specialising in sourcing quality Irish competition horses, primarily for export to the UK, although one Blue Moon horse is now competing with the Irish Army.
"Ireland breeds the best event horses in the world," says Liz. "That was the motivation for coming here. Irish breeders have topped the league tables for event horses every year for the past 20 years. So we came here to be close to the source of good horses, which we then produce [in horsey lingo, this means train] and send to England to compete and be sold. It's a process that can take years."
Liz now plans to downsize to a smaller property in the area - "we love the area and we love the people" - and produce two or three horses at a time instead of the current eight. The business will continue, but will be scaled down.
Ballyline House sits on 20 acres of land and is located 5 miles from Callan and 14 miles from Kilkenny city. The house is approached from the road through an impressive stone entrance with iron gates, and via a tree-lined avenue with lighting. Paddocks lie on either side of the avenue, and there is an attractive pond close to the house.
The house was completed two years ago, and is notable for its energy efficiency, having been built with German thermal block walls that retain the heat from the sun. Inside, there is geothermal Worcester underfloor heating both upstairs and downstairs, resulting in happily modest utility bills.
Until she came to Ireland, Liz says that she had always lived in draughty Georgian houses.
"It's been a wonderful shock to the system to live somewhere warm, light and bright. I don't think I will ever go back to living in an old house!"
The two-storey Ballyline House has 5,210 sq ft of living space. On the ground floor there is an open-plan kitchen/dining room as well as a family room, drawing room, sun room, home office, guest lavatory and utility room. There's a handy shower room on this level, ideal for when there are muddy visitors - a frequent occurrence in these parts. Upstairs there are four bedrooms, three of which are en-suite, plus a family bathroom.
In addition to the main house, Ballyline has a separate guest cottage, with views over the garden, suitable for either staff or visitors. The cottage is adjacent to the garage, which has power and light.
The equestrian facilities include stables, barns, grass gallops, a 20m sand lunging ring, and nine stud-railed paddocks, all with water troughs and hedged in beech, laurel or leylandii. There is potential to convert the field gate from the road to join up with the rear avenue to the yard and stables, which would give separate access. As it stands, a tarmac, beech-lined drive leads from the house to the stables.
Currently, there are five 15ft by 12ft boxes with water drinkers, mangers, hay-bars and stuck-down mats in the stable barn, along with a good sized tack room, wash area and feed room. A further barn measuring 120ft by 30ft is sectioned with loose housing and a tack room, and could be easily converted to accommodate further loose boxes, as could a garage store measuring approximately 30ft by 15ft.
The grass gallops could be further extended to the bottom field and could also incorporate cross-country jumps. In addition to the lunging ring, there is a hard surface area set out for a sand arena, and a concrete area set out for a walker. All buildings are lit inside and out, and the paddocks are gated and supplied with water.
As well as being of interest to potential purchasers looking to carry out an equestrian business, Ballyline will appeal to recreational horse enthusiasts. The Tipperary and Kilkenny Foxhounds are two active hunts in the area within easy boxing distance. There are also numerous eventing, show-jumping and pony clubs, including the Warrington, Raheen Na Gun, Kedrah, and Grove, within a short drive, ensuring that all ages of equestrians are catered for.
The gardens of Ballyline House have been landscaped with perennial planting, and are designed to be both attractive and low-maintenance. To the back of the house is a large paved courtyard with raised flower beds. The entire property is surrounded by beech and laurel hedges, and is both sheltered and private.
Callan has a primary school and two secondary schools, while Kilkenny is a busy city with plenty going on in terms of culture, festivals and entertainment. It punches above its weight with not just one, but two Michelin-starred restaurants - Campagne and The Lady Helen at Mount Juliet.
Callan, Co Kilkenny
Asking price: €1.1m
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Country (01) 2376300