Kilmoyler House - with 18th century ruins - has all the trimmings you could wish for in a period property
Kilmoyler House Cahir, Co Tipperary €1.95m
If, like many of us, you've been watching RTE One's latest interiors show The Great House Revival and are feeling inspired - and flush enough - to embark on your own restoration, the perfect project awaits you in Co Tipperary.
Kilmoyler House is a three-storey early Georgian property slap in the centre of 140 lush acres of farmland, 7km or so from the market town of Cahir and its Norman castle, and less than 20km from the M8. It was built in 1763 by the Butlers of Ormond as a hunting lodge.
The estate has all the trimmings you could wish for in a period property, a three-acre walled garden, complete with dove cote, and a pretty courtyard of stables, coach houses and former staff quarters, all now in various stages of repair.
There is a bull paddock, with 10 acres of planted oak, a 'quarry field', where an old lime kiln sits overgrown with alder and ivy, a huge pasture in front of the house, a cider orchard, the chapel field, and extensive rights to fish on the River Aherlow that skirts along one side of the grounds.
But since the owner died two years ago, Kilmoyler House has been empty. And now, says Thomasina Barron, the owner's daughter, who grew up in the house and whose family have lived there for four generations, "We want someone to buy it, to live in it, to do it up and spend the millions that we never had, and for it to be lived in". Over the years, she and her siblings have carried out essential work to maintain the listed property.
The family's connection with Kilmoyler House began when Thomasina's great-great uncle, William Byrne, known as 'the Yank', returned from the United States where he had made his fortune as a merchant in the American Civil War. "He bought this house and another called Belleville, over towards Dundrum, and he eventually gave this house to his sister." That sister was Thomasina's great grandmother Eliza and she married Paddy Barron.
Since then the house has played a huge part in the lives of the Barron family. "My grandfather was born here. My father was born and died here." As children, she and her siblings explored every inch of the grounds. "We literally would know every road, every tree," says Thomasina, "right down to the Glen of Aherlow."
When they were children, recalls Thomasina, they would take a little boat from the bridge near the gates of the property and row it down to Cahir, with the excitement of possible shipwreck on rocks along the way. And they would watch the salmon spawn and fish for brown trout from the bridge in the summer holidays.
It is certainly an idyllic spot, with splendid views from the front of the house.
Architecturally, Kilmoyler House is simple. There is no fancy plasterwork, no frills, but the proportions are elegant, and the rooms are filled with light. It is spacious yet not so large as to be unmanageable.
There is a fine sandstone flagged hall with delicate filigree-worked archway leading to a back hall and the stairs to the upper floors.
The main dining room is off to the right - a fine-sized room with a beautiful bay window where Thomasina held her wedding 30 years ago. "This is where we danced," she says.
The room beside it was once a library but was converted into a bedroom and en suite for Thomasina's mother.
The main living room is off to the left of the hall, and leads on to a large family room, formerly a garage, which was knocked through some years ago and could easily be hived off again. A garden room connects this space with the stable yard.
The kitchen can be accessed from the garden room or the hallway and is to the rear of the house. It once had a vast fireplace that, says Thomasina, gave out no heat. They replaced it with a wood-burning stove a few years ago.
The first floor has an elegant reception room which Thomasina's parents used as their bedroom. Three large windows give views out over the Galtees, the ceiling is domed, and the floor is of maple or sweet chestnut. There are three further double bedrooms on this floor, while the bathroom is on the return landing.
The second floor has two further double bedrooms as well as a room that hasn't been touched for many years and is in considerable disrepair. There is also access to the roof via a short stairs.
The house will require serious outlay in terms of time and money to return it to its glory days, and could profitably be reconfigured to add bathrooms and update the internal space to include 21st century comforts.
If the purchaser's pockets were deep enough, they could also choose to restore the ruins of an earlier house to the rear, which dates back, according to Thomasina, to the early 18th century and the days of William and Mary.
Not much remains now, however, except a tower with a spiral staircase and bell, and the four walls of the original.
The high-walled yard to the rear of the property contains a number of coach houses, stables and outbuildings, and behind that lies a working farmyard - the land is currently rented out to a local farmer. There is also a one-bedroom gate lodge.
Kilmoyler House has obvious potential for a farmer wishing to purchase some rich Tipperary acreage, or for those in search of a gentleman's estate in secluded grounds while offering fine views of the magnificent Galtee range.
It is a wrench to sell. "The house," says Thomasina, "is part of me. You wonder if it's all gone, will you still be the same person."
She hopes that another family will take it on, perhaps, she says, a returned Yank, just like her great-great uncle all those years ago, and the property could come full circle.
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes,
Farms and Estates (01) 639 9300