Alma House, Park, Wexford town Asking price: €2.5m Agent: Keane Auctioneers (053) 9123072
Following a fruitless shooting expedition on the grounds of Castlebridge House in Wexford in 1951, the gentlemen retreated to the drawing room to discuss what went so wrong. Amongst the group that evening were Joshua Nunn II and Sir Hugh Beaver, the managing director of Guinness Breweries at the time.
Beaver, perplexed by why he was unable to shoot any golden plovers that afternoon, thought the bird must be the fastest in Europe.
In a time before Google, the men were unable to establish if this theory was true or not. The discussion continued regarding the absence of a proper directory to reference on such vital matters.
And so, the idea for the Guinness Book of Records was born, with the first edition printed a few years later.
The Nunn family had a long association with the Guinnesses, as they supplied malted barley to the St James’s Street brewery for many decades. Joshua Nunn was born at Alma House in Ferrycarrig in 1889.
Although his two brothers were soldiers, Joshua decided to stay close to home and became the family solicitor. He married his first cousin Mabel and they lived at Alma until his father died in 1928, when they moved to Castlebridge House.
His younger brother, Richard Narcissus Nunn then moved into Alma House with his family when he returned from service in India. He died there in 1970 and is commemorated on a plaque at the church at Killurin in Wexford.
Alma House was built in 1854 in an L-shaped plan. Although it was bought and refurbished in 1998, traces of the Nunn family haven’t been erased and are still evident as you arrive up passed the gate lodge on along the driveway to the big house.
The classic Georgian design at the front of the house hasn’t been messed with. Inside, the tiled hallway with cornicing and chandelier follows under an archway with the staircase ahead and the drawing room to the left and library to the right, with the dining room just behind it.
These rooms are traditional in design. Fireplaces with hearth seating around them, sash windows with shutters, heavy curtains, crystal chandeliers and strong paint colours all give a sense of history to the house.
Further into the house, the refurbishment has brought it up to more modern standards. Gone is the galley kitchen with servant quarters, and instead there is a large open room with fitted units, a double Aga, granite worktops, breakfast bar and American fridge/freezer. There is a utility behind the kitchen as well as a boot room.
The original house has been extended from here with the addition of a sun room that overlooks the pond and grounds. This then leads into a leisure area with a 75ft x 36ft tiled swimming pool, an air-conditioned gym, sauna and changing room with power shower.
You are returned to a more period-style design as you go upstairs to the bedrooms. On the first floor is the grand master bedroom with a fireplace, views out to the garden, an en suite that’s big enough for a bath and separate shower, and a walk-in wardrobe.
There are four more bedrooms on this level, with bedroom number two also having an en suite bathroom. On the second floor there are three more bedrooms (two en suite) and three store rooms.
Outside there is a courtyard mews with an overhead loft, and a detached garage with a car wash facility and an office in the loft. The gate lodge has also been renovated and is now a two-bed property.
The 8.5 acres around the house mix old and new with the walled garden complete with its original garden room, and mature trees and manicured shrubs providing character and privacy.
Then there are the new kids on the block in the form of a circular pond and fountain, tennis courts and a large, paved patio area that goes around the back of the house.
So, with everything that’s on offer at Alma House, the big question is, will new owners keep this as a family home or transform it into a business?
A hotel is already established nearby but Alma House could easily be remodelled to become an exclusive wedding venue or a retreat centre and offers a range of options for leisure based tourism.
The guide price is €2.5m through Keane Auctioneers.
This article was amended on October 25, 2021.