Hunting lodge in buyers' sights
At 4,661 sq ft there's more to this lodge than meets the eye
It took five long and difficult years to lay down a railway line in Connemara at the end of the 19th century. The project started in 1890 and was beset by problems with contractors, industrial relations headaches, cost overruns, and the inevitable spot of bother with shebeens.
The route was only 48 miles long, connecting Galway city to Clifden with seven stops along the way. It eventually opened in 1895, and there were high hopes that it would do wonders for the depressed communities of Connemara by promoting local industries.
The Midland and Great Western Railway Company, though, had its eyes on a plan that would pay off much faster than that - tourism. The MGWRC began relentlessly promoting West Galway to wealthy holidaymakers, and it worked. As local historian Kathleen Villiers- Tuthill has written, Connemara became a playground for the rich and famous, even as the indigenous population continued to board trains to emigrate.
Soon the upper classes began to build themselves lodges in Connemara for hunting, shooting and fishing. Among these was Moycullen House, an unusual - and exceptionally pretty - arts and crafts-style building just outside the village of Moycullen - the first stop on the Galway-Clifden line.
Moycullen House is described as having been built in 1890, although it's not on the second-edition Ordnance Survey map, that area having been surveyed in 1899. At any rate, it was built for the Campbell family, Barons of Stratheden, and was the residence of John Beresford Campbell, high sheriff of Galway and a captain in the Coldstream Guards, when he was killed in action in France in 1915, at the age of 48.
Moycullen House is one of those lodges that rather resist the name, seeing as it's 4,661 sq ft. It's on 2.59 acres in the townland of Kylebroghlan. And though it's surrounded by woodland, it's in an elevated spot so there are good views of Lough Corrib.
Inside the property features exposed stone and brick walls, wood panelling, antique furniture and fittings, and there are several cellars accessed from trapdoors in the floors.
Perhaps to maintain some sense of its provenance, the owners have decorated the house much as you'd expect a shooting lodge to be decorated, with animal trophies dotted about the walls, giving it an English pub look.
There are three main reception rooms on the ground floor. The first is a triple-aspect drawing room with a stone fireplace and a wood-burning stove. Two picture windows in this room look out over Lough Corrib.
Adjoining the drawing room is a dining room with a built-in bar and an exposed brick fireplace, and next to this is a family room which has views over the gardens. To one wide of the family room there's a small hallway with two guest toilets, and it also opens into an office, where the second servants' staircase can be found.
At the other side of the family room is the fitted kitchen and breakfast room, with a utility and store room off it.
Up on the first floor there are five bedrooms, two of which are quite large. The master bedroom is at the corner of the house and hence is dual-aspect, and it has its own ensuite. None of the other bedrooms has an ensuite, although there are two family bathrooms on this level too.
Above this level is an attic for storage, reached by means of a small staircase. As the house is not on the county council's list of protected structures, it has to have an energy rating, which in this case is a rather disappointing E1. Moycullen House is at the end of an avenue lined with mature trees and shrubs.
The gardens, sloping away from the house feature lawns surrounded by hedges and there's a terrace to the side of the house with views of the lake.
The gardens are closely planted with flowering shrubs, including azalea and rhododendron, and a wealth of Montbretia which will shortly be producing its orange flowers. There's also a garage and conservatory on the grounds.
The house is less than two kilometres, or about a 20-minute walk, from Moycullen.
Though it's now largely a satellite village of Galway City, Moycullen does have charms of its own, as a Gaeltacht village often described as a gateway to Connemara. There are 11 coarse fishing lakes around the area, and of course trout fishing on Lough Corrib.
The locality is also popular for walking and horse riding, while the village itself has restaurants, shops and schools.
Oughterard Golf Club is about 15km away.
The railway has been closed since 1935, so there's no getting to Galway by train anymore, but you can reach the city in about 25 minutes by car.
Moycullen, Co Galway
Asking price: €495,000
Agent: Ganly Walters (01) 662 3255