The Tony Meath who demobbed from the British Army to move into Templecarrig House in Greystones with his young wife and three children in 1946 must have been a very different person from the fancy-free lad who celebrated his 21st birthday party on the lawns of nearby Kilruddery House some years previous.
Major Anthony Windham Normand Brabazon, to give him his full name, was the son of Lord Ardee, the 13th Earl Meath who had drank with Churchill. Tony grew up at the Kilruddery Demesne and then, as family tradition demanded since Hastings, was adopted by the empire military. He joined the Grenadier Guards in 1930.
From Eton to Sandhurst before army, Meath of Wicklow was assigned to Cairo before coming home a year later for his 21st - an event hailed by fireworks, the ringing of the bells of Christ Church Bray, bonfires atop Bray Head and music from the garda band. Birthday presents included a two-seater sports from the auld pair.
From there he went to India before war broke out and then his regiment was sent to Syria. But D-day for Meath and the Grenadiers came with their landing against the Nazis at Salerno - the start of the sea invasion of Italy in 1943 - for which the guards were first ashore.
Unusually for a beach landing to reinforced positions, there had been no naval or air bombardments to soften things up - on grounds of enabling surprise. The dug-in Germans were neither softened nor surprised. Salerno was a bloodbath which succeeded by the skin of its teeth.
From there the grenadiers progressed to Monte Camino where their remnants were all but wiped out when told to climb a mountain and hold the summit. Here they were exposed to relentless heavy artillery fire. Major Meath of Wicklow was lucky to have ended up among the wounded given that the grenadier guards, who famously wear red coats and bear skins outside Buck Palace, had so many casualties in those weeks that they ceased to exist for some years as a usable regiment.
Meath returned in 1946 to a young family and overlooking the sea at Templecarrig, a stout and elegant double-fronted Georgian located close to the waterfront at Greystones. He lived here pondering what he had seen and experienced until assuming the Earl's title for himself in 1949 and then moved on to Kilruddery to embark on restoration works there. He lived to be 88, passing in the late 1990s.
Templecarrig, was built as an important ancillary home to the massive Meath estate in a meticulously meritorious world where the arrangement of cutlery and drinking glasses on a dining table required textbook formality and precision of intent. It was built to a design that defined its dual purpose exactly - a thoughtful waiting room for Earldom or a departure lounge for the line's widowed dowagers. It means that by today's standards it is very large - there are six bedrooms - but also still practical as a family home. With four acres of grounds attached and its own gate lodge to chaperone its entrance from the road, the house is located just outside the eminent seaside town.
There are three main reception rooms with most of the original trim (including chimney pieces and ornate plaster work) still intact. There's a sun lounge/conservatory, a large kitchen/breakfast room with a four-oven Aga and the house has an apartment annexe with self-contained two-bed living accommodation. The grounds include a coach house, the gate lodge which is one-bedroomed and out offices. Templecarrig is available for waiting Earls or anyone with €3.45m to spare.
Templecarrig, Greystones, Co Wicklow
Asking price: €3.45m
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 2874005